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AP Enviro



Unit 7

7.8 Noise Pollution

2 min readmay 29, 2020


Joshua Nielsen

AP Environmental Science ♻️

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  • CDC
  • Decibel

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How loud is too loud

Noise is not often thought of as a pollutant. That is until you try studying for a test in the middle of a basketball game. High levels of sound are able to cause physical and psychological stress and hearing loss. 
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) hearing loss in humans begins at 85 decibels.  A normal conversation is around 60 dB. Permanent hearing loss may occur within 15 minutes of unprotected exposure to 100 dB (construction work). 
Children exposed to long term loud noise suffer from decreased reading ability, hyperactivity, poor speech development, and stress. Adults also suffer from higher blood pressure and difficulty thinking in situations of very loud noises. 

Effects on Animals

Loud noises affect animals as well as people. Animals may suffer from hearing loss and experience stress due to noise pollution. Animal communication is impaired around loud noises. Birds must alter their tune with higher notes or sing at different times. Bats have a more difficult time finding their food using echolocation in loud environments. 
Noise pollution is not only present in the air. Marine animals suffer from loud noises. Sound travels farther in water. The sounds of propellers and sonar have interrupted the communications of whales and dolphins and caused hearing loss. Some marine whale pods have altered their migratory paths in order to avoid shipping lanes and areas of sonar use.


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