Typical Types of Noise Problems
Some types of noise can endanger your hearing; others are just incredibly annoying. What is your worst noise problem?
When we think about noise pollution, we usually think of environmental sources of noise:
What is noise?
Traffic noise (cars, buses, trucks)
Lawn mowers, leaf blowers, snow blowers
These noises can be quite loud, the kind that can damage our hearing if we are exposed to them for too long.
But in fact, noise is any unwanted sound. Some noises are not particularly loud but are unwanted for other reasons. Here are some other noises that might be part of your environment:
Barking dogs (or caterwauling cats!)
Nearby businesses and their clientele
Many sources of noise are inside our own homes:
Home appliances: Vacuum cleaners, dishwashers,
treadmills, washing machines, refrigerators, toilets, fans, computers and their accessories Slamming doors, squeaky hinges, creaky floors
TV, especially TV commercials
Alarm clocks and other alarm sounds
When you leave your home and go to work, school, or other places, the onslaught continues:
Industrial (factory) noise
Piped-in music and announcements in stores, shopping malls, restaurants, and airports
Very loud music levels at nightclubs and concerts
Traveling has its own noise hazards:
Air travel: The dull background roar of the plane itself, or noises made by fellow passengers
Motorcycle travel: Engine noise, or the sound of the air rushing past your ears
The roar of the air blowing in through open windows, or road noise transmitted through the tires Car accidents: The sound made by a deploying airbag can be literally deafening
Some hobbies involve loud sounds, at decibel levels that can endanger your hearing:
Of course, people make noise too! They're not doing it to be annoying (usually!), but if the sound bothers you, it's noise just the same. Examples are:
A baby crying or wailing
Children screaming or yelling
A spouse or roommate snoring
A co-worker making sounds that disrupt your concentration
A cell phone user having a loud conversation in a public place
Even quiet sounds can be unwanted. Have you ever been kept awake by an insistent cricket that would not stop chirping, or by the relentless tick-tock-tick-tock of a clock?
Whether it can damage your hearing, threaten your sanity, or simply add to the overall stress in your life, each of the above is an example of noise.
And see how others have voted.
What sounds do you find most annoying? Take the survey!
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