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Understanding Noise Pollution

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Understanding Noise Pollution


Being a Good Neighbor

-Taking the needs of others into account.
Some people have to be to work very early in the morning, while others have late shifts that start in the middle of the day, and still others have grave-yard shifts that start late at night. People need to rest and sleep in order to function, and if you disrupt their ability to sleep with noise you are litterally hurting other people.

-The importance of sleep for physical health and mental balance.
During sleep the body and mind undergo a number of repair and maintenence procedures to clear out metabolites, repair damaged tissues, and to balance neurotransmitter and hormone levels. Sleep is essential for biological and mental health.

-Considerate understanding and wisdom.
Seeing being the immediate consequences of your own choices is part of exercising wisdom. If you are a considerate person, you take the needs and safety of others into account when you make choices. When you are making noise with music, tools, appliances, vehicles or anything else that is noisy stop for a moment to consider how those noises may negatively affect someone else by disturbing their relaxation time or sleep.

Quite Hours

-single family vs multifamily structures.
It is illegal in most municipalities to make loud disruptive noises after a certain time in the evening. Noise laws vary by city, but know that you can be written a citation and a fine for making disruptive noices. Engine compression braking for example is illegal in some areas. Doing construction or playing loud music after a certain time of day is also illegal.

When you are living in multi-story appartment or condominum complex, you have many neighbors close by when your noises can easily penetrate their home spaces, causing toxic noise disruptions. At the very least, if you are going to be watching a movie late, watching tv late, listening to music late, doing construction late, or in any other way making loud noise, shut you window, especially if you living in a unit facing a coutyard when sounds echo easily and loudly.

In residential neighborhoods you have more distance between homes, but even here hard concrete surfaces, especially in cul-de-sac neighborhoods, can echo sounds long distances efficiently. This means that your "party" can be heard loudly and clearly by your neighbors. Please consider closing windows and turning the music down to a level that is just loud enough for everyone to enjoy.

Understanding Building Acoustics in a Multi-story Complex 

-Sound conduction through the frame.
Housing complexs that have interconnected units allow sound to transmit by conduction through the floors and walls, litterally resonating the wood beams and drywall. Well insulated structures will be less prone to conductive sound transmission, but even the highest quality multi-story complexes have accoustical conductive transmission between units. Walking loudy, with a thud gate for example, will produce noise pollution the unit lower than yours.

-Sound emission and re-entry through doors and windows.
Sound is a form of energy, energy that resonates the gases in the air, forming pressure waves to move the sounds over space. This means that when you have a window open, the sound radation from your music, tv, movie, or whatever else, can efficiently go out the window and into someone elses home.

-Resonate transfer through surfaces, walls, floors and ceilings.
Certain frequencies of sound actually causes the surfaces in our homes to resonate. Objects with certain geometries that match well with certain sound frequencies will resonate loudly when excited by specific sounds. Appliances like front loading washing machines with a high speed spin cycle, can produce low frequency noises that resonate the frame of a building efficiently.

-Courtyards and hard surface hallways.
Hard enclosed surfaces or areas are efficient at producing sound echoing, or bouncing sounds around with high efficiency. If you stand in a courtyard with hard concrete and hard walls, and clap your hands, you can observe echoing. If you live in a unit with a window facing a courtyard, understand that any noise you make while you window is open will go out your windows and bounce around in the courtyard when the noise then efficiently enter the open windows of other units. If you listen carefully, you can hear a normal conversation happening with stunning clarity from across a courtyard, even from units that are not on the same floor.

Why I Care 

-History with noisy and noise sensitive neighbors.
I once lived in a rental house across the street from a sick person with acute sound sensitivity disorder. He was an abrasive jerk to all the neighbors because normal noises seemed extremely loud to him, and he went around harassing everyone in the neighborhood for normal levels noises.

-Current living situation with inconsiderate neighbors.
I live in an urban apartment, in a unit facing a courtyard. Several of the other units are occupied by inconsiderate noisy people who do not comply with the quite hours, who leave their windows upon while listening to loud noises (music, movies, tv), and while having loud social interactions with their guests. From analyzing the noises I have been able to deduce that they primarily originate from a unit occupied by younger men with limited mental function. Their conversations about women and sports indicate that they have a primitive limited mental framework that revolves around thinking on behalf of their reproductive compulsions. Never once have I listened to an intelligent conversation originating from said unit. Upon further surveillance I discovered these same people drive SUV's, which they frequently double park. Go figure /

Traffic Corridors 

Air traffic 
-Air traffic is one of the worst sources of sound pollution. 
Aircraft are noisy because they move tremendous amounts of air and gasses, in a process that generates a lot of sound pressure, and high levels of corresponding noise that can travel at high intensity for considerable distances. Aircraft also release a lot of toxic pollution from their turbine engines, so living near an airport causes both exposure to noise and chemical pollution... toxic. 

-Almost as loud as an airport.
Steel wheels on a steel track, incredibly low rolling resistance and extreme fuel efficiency, but this combination of metal everything makes a ton of noise. 

Buses and Trucks
-Noisy diesel engines that smell bad too.
If you live away from an airport, and away from a train track, chances are you frequently experience sound and air pollution from industrial vehicles. If the operators of these vehicles were ethical and honest people, they would install particulate filters and sound suppression technologies to reduce noise and air pollution. Unfortunately these "expensive" technologies do not make sense to the operators of the vehicles, who see these indirect costs as something they do not have to deal with. Essentially the polluters are dumping some of their costs as pollution on everyone, making people less happy and sick when exposed to the smog forming noise of these antiquated diesel pollution beast vehicles.

Freeways / Interstates, Highways 

-Anywhere that "Traffic" forms.
Traffic congestion produces air pollution and noise pollution. Traffic corridors, busy streets, highways, freeways, and interstates are all very noisy toxic places. Smog, noise, tire and break dust, heat, busy roadways emit lots of toxic noise and air pollution.  

Industrial / Commercial 
Coal Power, Steel Mills, Etc.
Sources of industrial noise pollution can be very toxic, from something called low frequency infrasound: sounds that have such a low frequency they cannot be heard, but which move the organs of the body by resonating them at low frequency. This low frequency energy can be strong, enough to cause visual and mental distortion, impaired organ function, nausea, and a sick feeling. Even otherwise wonderful wind turbines can emit this horrid toxic noise pollution. 


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