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Turn it down! Advice about noise pollution

Noise is carried by waves that spread out in all directions. Everyone is affected, although to different degrees. However, there are a certain number of constants.

For example, the threshold of auditory pain is 130 decibels, but a number of intermediary levels and their effects are also well known. The rustling of leaves is equivalent to 20 decibels, a normal conversation is 60 decibels. But a horn at five meters or a rock concert can reach – or even exceed – 100 decibels.

Noise is carried by waves that spread out in all directions. Everyone is affected, although to different degrees. However, there are a certain number of constants.

For example, the threshold of auditory pain is 130 decibels, but a number of intermediary levels and their effects are also well known. The rustling of leaves is equivalent to 20 decibels, a normal conversation is 60 decibels. But a horn at five meters or a rock concert can reach – or even exceed – 100 decibels.

Traffic gives rise to many complaints. In a street with a lot of traffic circulating, our ears are registering around 70 decibels all the time. In a residential area, the sound level will be around 60 decibels during the day, but still as much as 40 decibels during the night. Simply starting the engine and setting off quietly will reduce the sound emission level by 10 decibels for a car, and by 40 decibels for a motorcycle. On the other hand, reducing the amount of traffic by 50% will only reduce the sound level by three decibels.

This all goes to prove that in order to reduce ambient noise, it is better to act on individual noise sources than try to restrict traffic as a whole. We should also remember that our brain tries to forget noise and manages to filter it out to the point where we are no longer conscious of it, though our nervous system continues to register it constantly. None of us gets used to noise, we just learn to tolerate it.


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