A Noisy Conundrum

by Alissa Kim on February 19, 2014

Negative Effects of Noise Pollution

I don’t know about you, but when I think of the word “noise,” I think of loud house music blasting in an apartment on a Friday night. For others though, they may sourly respond, “Disturbance,” or think of that one dog that barks every time the clock strikes twelve. I imagine the latter response to be stated by an elderly couple, while my response is… well, from the perspective of a 20-year-old college student.

Aside from all the partying and music however, noise pollution seems to be a serious problem in  society today. Noise pollution itself is defined as “an unwanted sound that causes disruption and interference with normal activities and living conditions.”

So essentially, too much noise is a really big problem.

Living in a city already guarantees a plethora of noises—think of all the cars, motorcycles, and ambulances that zoom by every day! New York City is a frequent victim of noise pollution; a recent article in The New York Times even stated that trains next to a school were causing a disturbance in the children’s learning.  Imagine trying to read a book or solve a math problem with a loud train skyrocketing by. It would be difficult to concentrate and focus in the classroom. In the 1970’s, a study was done comparing reading ability with people who lived in higher floors of an apartment and those who lived right next to a highway in the same apartment.

The results?

Those who lived on the highway had better results because the noise didn’t disrupt their ability to read.

Another article from the New York Times talked about a neighbor’s roaring air-conditioner and how it got to the point where moving house altogether was the only option. With coffee cups rattling, dogs barking, and walls trembling because of various noises, it is only natural for people to repeatedly call the New York City’s help line, 311.

Now imagine living next to a college campus on a Friday night. On weekends, the residential areas  near college campuses endure the loud sounds  produced by college  parties. All the neighbors want is to catch up on some sleep after a long weeks’ worth of work—is it too much to ask to keep the volume down? A French proverb says, “I do not like noise unless I make it myself,” which seems accurate in this time and age. Noise pollution is not an environmental issue like water or air pollution, but it is definitely a psychological and social concern that we should take note of.

Noise pollution is also becoming a public health problem because many are even unaware that this kind of situation exists in our society today. There are many effects that come with over-exposure to noise pollution: stress, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, psychiatric disorder, learning disability, hearing loss, and so much more. We may think that the everyday noises that enter our ears may do no harm to us, but the exposure over an extended period of time can lead to serious conditions.

I think it is important to realize what kind of effect we have on our society when we arrive in masses. Noise comes in all sorts, but when people come together, it turns into something big, and affects many people who essentially have nothing to do with the source of the problem. If we have more rules and regulations for noise pollution, maybe we can make a change for the sake of our community.



Barron, James. “In Urban War for Peace and Quiet, Soundproofers Are Busier Than Ever.” The New York Times. 24 Nov. 2013: n. pag. Web.

Buckley, Cara. “Parents Push to Quiet Roar From Trains Near Queens School.” The New York Times. 3 Dec. 2013: n. pag. Web.

Carchia, Gianna. “Noise Complaints Call for Action | The Suffolk Journal.” The Suffolk Journal.   N.p., 10 Nov. 2010. Web. 05 Feb. 2014.

Nadakavukaren, Anne. Our Global Environment: A Health Perspective. 7th ed. Long Grove: Waveland, 2011.

“Noise Nuisance.” Noise Nuisance. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Feb. 2014.

“Noise Pollution.” EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, n.d. Web. 04 Feb. 2014.

“Noise Pollution.” JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association 205.13 (1968): 928.

Stansfeld, S. A. “Noise Pollution: Non-auditory Effects on Health.” British Medical Bulletin68.1  (2003): 243-57.



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