Noise pollution is unwanted sound or environmental noise that is annoying, distracting, or physically harmful to those within hearing distance. If sound being produced can adversely affect human activity, the natural environment of wildlife or physical structures, it is considered to be noise pollution and therefore measures should be taken to reduce it or eliminate it.
Typically created by humans, noise pollution is harmful to health, welfare, and productivity. Transportation vehicles are the most significant sources of unwanted noise in every day life, with aircraft, railroad stock, trucks, buses, automobiles, and motorcycles all producing excessive noise. Construction equipment, like jackhammers and bulldozers, also produce substantial noise pollution, although this noise is often for concentrated and temporary periods of time. Noise intensity is measured in decibel units and a scale has already been determined as to which levels are suitable for comfortable listening levels for humans and which are not. An increased distance diminishes the decibel level that reaches the ears and is one way to lower the negative effects of noise pollution. Unwanted sound activity can not only be physically harmful and painful, resulting in hearing loss, stress and sleep loss; it can also decrease concentration, productivity, and peace of mind. Even though noise only stays in the air for a short time, its effects are cumulative in terms of temporary or permanent hearing loss.
There are many methods available for helping to reduce or eliminate noise pollution and this is a worthwhile endeavor as reducing noise pollution can be very advantageous. Most modern buildings are pre-designed with soundproofing materials such as acoustical ceilings, flooring and foam used in the construction process. In industrial settings for the workers' sake, acoustic curtains are used to dampen some of the excessive noise created by large machinery. There may be laws and hour restrictions for the use of some loud equipment, especially close to residential areas, or buildings such as hospitals or libraries and therefore government regulations may require facilities to abide by these. Sound absorption, vibration damping and sound barriers are all very common implementations of soundproofing materials used to reduce the effects of reverberations and sound wave travel. In addition, acoustical panels and ceilings can also provide relief from noise pollution in areas such as offices, schools and performance halls. Office equipment, factory machinery, appliances, power tools, hum from lighting fixtures and HVAC equipment, and audio entertainment systems are other common sources of noise pollution, although the levels of disruption may be less than that of other equipment.