green living tips

Shhh! How to Quiet Your Surroundings and Stop Noise Pollution

You may not notice it because it’s so drowned out but we experience noise pollution every day. This is the sound class caused just about everything from cars whirring by to the hum of your refrigerator. Noise pollution scales up as we increase our industrialization. It’s the sound of nearby construction, super-loud leafblowers, people shouting, and airplane rumbles.

Noise pollution doesn’t only affect us, humans! Noise pollution can harm the environment, too. What can we do about it? Read on and find out.

The Negative Effects of Noise Pollution

What we’ve come to accept as everyday routines and activities can actually be harmful to our bodies and the environment. We may not think much of urban planning, transportation, and everyday activities but we should!

What can noise pollution do to us?

  • Hearing Loss — High decibel sounds can damage our eardrums, constant noise can eventually lead to hearing loss
  • Mental Discomfort — The consistent noise can off-set our concentration and cause many to feel irate
  • Cardio Disorders — The stress caused by noise raises blood pressure subsequently harming our heart health
  • Survival (Wildlife) — Many animals rely on sounds to hunt and survive, the noise pollution places them at risk
  • Sleep IssuesNoises keeping us up at night, or so distracted from sleep we start experiencing physical and mental problems

Some noise pollution we’ve learned to love like the white noise of a fan or passing cars. But, it becomes problematic when noise reaches upper-decibel levels, especially with construction and industrialization!

How to Dampen and Control Environmental Noise Pollution

You might think it is impossible to dampen noise pollution unless you’re living in the middle of nowhere. The truth is that it is possible with enough planning and investment.

Foliage/Trees

Adding extra brush, bushes, and trees to the landscaping provides a natural barrier to sound. These acoustic sound-dampeners also provide a pleasant view which could help with the mental discomfort one gets from the constant noise and industrialization going on around the place!

Concrete Walls

Ever notice the giant walls that run alongside the highway? Those are sound barriers for communities and social gatherings behind them! These walls use precast concrete wall panels, making them easy-ish-to-install and cheaper than a full brick, concrete, or stone build.

Ordinances

Community planners often place requests to limit construction to respectable hours, but what about the neighbors mowing at 7AM on a Sunday? In this case, you may be able to put in a request with the local home owner’s association or city ordinance office.

Power Down

Do you need every machine up and running at the office? Probably not! Try adding a new policy encouraging everyone to power off machines when they’re not in use. This helps conserve power and will also stop the constant hums, hisses, and churning sounds that distract you when you’re trying to concentrate.

Sound Paneling

You’ll find sound paneling in sound studios but they also make great noise dampeners around the home & office, too! These can be bought for cheap online or in-store at acoustic/music shops. Install them in high-traffic, high-noise areas for some added mute-ness.

Maintain

Regular maintenance is important both at home and at work! This could be a simple lube job for machinery or scrubbing friction (noise) causing dirt between components. A well-oiled machine is less likely to make a racket or vibrate, creating distracting noises.

Think of the Flooring

Tile flooring may feel great on your feet but it reverbs noise like crazy! If you’ve got the funds, swap tile for something better for reducing noise like thick carpet or vinyl.

Use Partitions

Open floor plans are all the rage but have you ever tried working in a big, open office with dozens of employees? It’s no fun. Perhaps it’s time to bring back the cubicle to corral the noise and chatter.

What’s an Acceptable Level of Noise?

The general noise level needs to reach around 50 – 85 decibels before noise starts becoming a problem for you and the environment. It’ll be impossible to block all noise, but you can try dampening it!

Try some of the suggestions in this post, seeing which works best. And, when you’ve tried all you can… perhaps it’s time for those earplugs. Or, finally moving away to that cottage you’ve always dreamt of!

About

Nikki is an author and writer specializing in green living ideas and tips, adventure travel, upcycling, and all things eco-friendly. She's traveled the globe, swum with sharks and been bitten by a lion (fact). She lives with her husband and a very bad dog.

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