Basic Facts On Environmental Noise Control

By Eugenia Dickerson

Noise pollution is a major problem in the modern industrialized world. A noisy environment is difficult to work in and possess a health risk as well. Proper environmental noise control is needed to better the acoustic environment. Persons who work in noisy industrial areas should undergo regular medical check-ups to ensure that they have not suffered from hearing impairment.

There are numerous other sources of this kind of pollution other than manufacturing industries. They include, among others, architecture, transport and urban planning. The most stubborn causes of pollution in this context worldwide are aircraft and road traffic. While some sources of pollution are fairly easy to control others like human social activities present a major challenge.

Different methods have been used to manage interior sound levels. These include party wall designs, exterior walls, and floor and ceiling assemblies. Rooms designed for specific purposes like entertainment halls, recording rooms and auditoria generate sound which can be contained by constructing sound absorbers or baffles. Sound masking as opposed to proofing refers to active addition of sounds to minimize the perception unwanted sounds.

A long term plan for managing traffic related pollution is the use of hybrid vehicles. To realise an appreciable amount of positive impact in the streets, introduction of hybrid vehicles will need to achieve about 50 percent of market share. Abating noise at source level can be attained by providing better designs of tire treads and improved shielding diesel stacks. The least sound is emitted by vehicles moving at minimum speed of 30 kilometres per hour, therefore, speed restriction can also be an effective technique.

Aircrafts with quitter engines are now being adopted by a number of designers and this has gone a long way into making the environment better. Restricting flights in some sensitive areas also helps in managing the pollution. Restriction can be done through allocation of specific times for flights, allocating specific paths, runways and so on. The main disadvantages of doing this include inconveniences to travellers and unfavourable flight economics.

A number of finishes and materials can be employed in ceiling panels and acoustic walls. A good panel is one that does not interfere with the substrate. Fabric covers are used for effective maximum absorption. The covers may be modified into sound blankets or curtains that are used to cover surfaces or noisy equipment. Moreover, windows that are thicker or double glazed may also serve the same purpose.

Industrial equipment can be designed in such a manner as to produce minimum noise possible, for the health benefit of workers. Also, special equipment including shock mounting source equipment, solid barriers and ear protection equipment can be used by workers. Office workers can look out for quieter office equipment such as photocopiers and printers as simple solutions for more conventional office environments.

A properly organised environmental noise control framework is required in virtually all public places. The methods chosen for this are variable but will fall in any of the following categories: vibration dumping, vibration isolation, absorption or sound isolation. In general, sound isolation is the use of barriers to impede transmission. Damping involves extraction of vibration energy from various media and dissipating it as heat.

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