For over a century now, over 100 trains move through the town of Lorchhausen, on the border between Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse in the Western region of Germany every day. There are over 60 trains that pass the region every night between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am. This traffic system has been a big source of traffic noise problems. It shows a bit of how traffic noise problems have affected Germany. Traffic noise has sparked a growing concern in the modern German society. It is arguably the most dominating source of noise pollution in the urban environment.
Addressed below are the health implications of traffic noise to the environment and how to tackle the issue.
How Noise Affects your Health
Some common noise related issues are sleep disturbance and interference with communication. Decreased sleep quality is considered as a major health implication of traffic noise problems. Studies have found that people who live near airports or streets with busy traffic, have fewer visitors and spend less time in their gardens than individuals living in quiet areas. Below are some other health issues associated with traffic noise problems.
According to a study by the University of Bern, in which data that was collected from over 4.6 million individuals was studied, the average noise level of just a little above 45 decibels is enough to increase your risk of developing the heart attack. While long-term exposure, increases up to 2.2 times.
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High Blood Pressure
A study by the European Commission involving about 5,000 people who live near the airports in Berlin, and some other European cities found that a rise of 10 decibels during the night increases the risk of developing high blood pressure by 14 percent. Researchers also discovered similar effects among people who are exposed to street noise and reside in Berlin.
One study in which Bremen epidemiologist Eberhard Greiser monitored data collected from one million people living close to Cologne/Bonn airport found that the risk of developing cardiovascular illnesses increases with continued exposure to traffic noise levels of 40 decibels. On the average, men and women who live near the airport took more medication against high blood pressure, sleep disorders, and depression.
Older males exposed to traffic noise demonstrates significantly reduced hearing sensitivity when compared to non-exposed individuals. Both ears are usually affected.
Additionally, traffic noise problems can also cause nonauditory effects like the annoyance, changes in behavior and significant deterioration in performance.
How Can the Problem be Tackled?
Noise traffic problems can be controlled or averted by using noise barrier (also known as a sound wall, sound barrier, sound berm, or an acoustical barrier). An acoustic barrier is an exterior object designed to protect residents of sensitive land areas from noise pollution. They are one of the most effective methods of mitigating traffic noise problems including roadway, and railway noise sources. Some other noise problem that acoustic barriers can handle includes industrial and aircraft (for people who stay near airports) noise sources.
We can conclude that the primary physiological and health implications of traffic noise problems are vegetative reactions which include the increase in blood pressure, heart attack, cardiac arrhythmia, and changes in respiration and body movements, increased heart rate and finger pulse amplitude. The secondary effects of traffic noise are increased fatigue, reduction in perceived sleep quality, decreased mood or deterioration in performance.
Finally, the cardiovascular effects of traffic noise problems like hypertension heart disease have been described, but the epidemiological evidence is still a bit limited. However, this doesn’t change the fact that traffic noise problems can cause cardiovascular diseases. As for those who live in Germany, getting an acoustic barrier installed around their property will go a way to protect them from traffic noise problems.
For more information contact Echo Barrier or visit http://www.echobarrier.de/echo-barrier/wesentliche-markte/larmschutzwand-autobahn/