Almost all of us can relate to being annoyed by the insensitive driver honking away when stuck in a traffic jam. He blithely jams at his horn completely ignoring the inconvenience his careless act is causing others. Ironically, we have been at the giving end of such a callous act. But have you ever wondered how harmful traffic jam noise pollution can be?

In a world that is increasingly becoming health conscious, the most ignored factor may be the harmful impacts of noise pollution. It is not as detrimental as air or water pollution, after all. It doesn’t give you cholera or typhoid or lung cancer. It is just noise, if you ignore it, you may as well learn to live with it. But, researchers beg to differ. The experiments they conducted have proved that prolonged exposure to noise can affect not only a person’s physical health but also impair mental health.

Excessive noise can cause fatigue in children, poor concentration, communication difficulties, lower productivity at workplaces, trigger cardiovascular diseases, lack of sleep and its concomitant health hazards, and even hearing impairments. Environmental noise can be far more adverse than we anticipate it to be. More than adults, it can cause serious mental agony and depression among children. Continuous noise exposure can cause a gamut of diseases in both adults and youngsters. It is estimated that in Europe alone a million healthy years are lost owing to noise pollution. It is ironic to note that when for decades now debates were rampantly conducted to reduce air, water pollution, noise pollution has been ignored, and it has been steadily on the rise. 

Did you know that even while we are asleep, our ears can hear sounds? Our ears are so sensitive that even when we are asleep, it is an open auditory network, constantly receiving and transmitting noise to the brain, and our body reacts to them according to the commands from the brain due to the noise stimuli. The most apparent effect is frequently interrupted sleep which will, in turn, cause impaired memory, lack of creativity, weakened psychomotor skills. People living near airports and busy streets have recorded greater incidences of headaches, consume more sleeping pills, are more vulnerable to accidents, and more probable to seek psychiatric help. Apart from these, the higher risk effects are raised stress levels in the body can cause higher blood pressure and heart rate, which in turn can cause cardiovascular diseases.