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Noise Pollution - Essay Example

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Prolonged exposure to increased levels of noise could result in a permanent loss of hearing or have adverse effects on the human nervous system. Damage to the ear over a continued period of time…
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Noise Pollution
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Download file to see previous pages Sound is made up of longitudinal waves that travel through air and cause certain materials to vibrate and create sound. The common characteristics of sound are intensity, frequency, amplitude and velocity. Sound cannot travel in outer space because it is a vacuum. (Ron Kurtus, 2009) According to Kurtus atoms and molecules that float in outer space are too far apart to actually cause any vibration or sound. A loud explosion in outer space would hardly be heard because of the vacuum. Unlike electromagnetic waves that easily travel through space through electrical and magnetic fields, sound waves are caused due to vibration of matter. (Ron Kurtus, 2009)
The intensity of sound varies from human to human due to varying hearing sensitivity and therefore cannot be generalized. Sounds which could be normal for some could be harsh for others. Sound frequencies ranging between 1000 Hz and 5000 Hz seem most sensitive to the human ear. However, a normal human ear with the right hearing ability has the lowest threshold of approximately 4000 Hz for comfortable hearing. When sound intensity goes beyond this threshold it tends to impact on the ear causing damage. Such intense sounds include loud explosions, blasts, crashes and noise from heavy machinery etc. Prolonged exposure to such intensity of sounds is liable to lead to permanent damage. Sound intensity is described as the average rate of sound energy flow across a perpendicular surface in the line of propagation. Sound intensity is measured by special units, namely, bel and decibel which are logarithmic. If there is an increase of 1 bel, the intensity of the sound increases ten fold. An increase of 1 dB increases the intensity by approximately 25% and the change in audibility can hardly be detected. The threshold for human hearing is 0 dB sound intensity. The intensity of sound decreases as distance is increased. (www.physicsclassroom.com)
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