Understanding the Concept of Environmental Noise Barriers

Although there is no clear witness of death due to the sounds coming from the exterior sources generated by human beings. Recently, it has come to know that the excess of sounds coming from traffic, neighbourhood or machines are harmful to health. Today we are not only surrounded by sounds from external sources but also from internal sources. Whether it is the sound of the air conditioner, television or mixer, we have to live in their sounds. Regular exposure in such an environment starts affecting the health of a person.

Today there are lots of people suffering from the problem of improper sleep, hypertension or blood pressure. There are cases when persons living continuously for a long time in irritating sounds suffer from such problems. Although, studies are going in this direction. It is an indication that it can also be a reason behind some chronic health problems.

Besides these sounds, it is believed, that the sounds generated from environmental factors like sounds from lightning strikes are also harmful to human health.  So, now the question arises, how can we control the impacts of these annoying and scary sounds? For this, it is necessary to understand the concept of noise or sound.

The intensity of noise or sound is measured in decibels. The scale used for decibels is logarithmic. An increase of 10 decibel in noise increases its density up to tenfold. It is believed, that a normal person can listen to up to 30 decibels of sound. Any noise beyond this limit is harmful to his health. Interestingly, the distance travelled by the noise reduces its intensity. Going through this reason nowadays, there are different types of noise barriers that help to control the impact of sounds.

Often known as environmental barriers, these barriers either reflect the sound to the source of its origin or in the surrounding area of your place. Or sometimes, they absorb the sound and do not let it disturb you. The barriers absorbing the sound are known as the absorbing environmental barriers. Whereas the barriers reflecting the sound in different directions are known as the reflective environmental barriers.

The reflective barriers are installed at places prone to the sounds coming from external sources like traffic, neighbours, industries, etc. The absorbing barriers are used in industries where due to the sounds of machines it is impossible to listen to anything. Along with this, the absorbing barriers are also helpful in controlling the impacts of sounds in schools and other places like shopping malls. It is seen that people living in houses close to schools are disturbed by the sounds of children, especially at the time of opening and closing.

The absorptive environmental barriers absorb the sounds of children and offer the people in houses a peaceful environment. It would be interesting to know that such barriers help in maintaining healthy relationships with neighbours. The reflective environmental barriers are used in houses, offices, and commercial places. They reflect the sound to its origin or make it move above the building.

Factors to consider while installing the environmental noise barriers:

  1. The main objective of environmental barriers is to cover the areas affected by the impacts of excessive noise. Although their main aim is to reduce noise pollution, they are developed keeping factors like the traffic on roads, the intensity of sounds generated in the nearby areas, etc.
  2. The barriers must be able to reduce or absorb the sound according to government norms. While developing the barriers it is necessary to consider both acoustic and non-acoustic factors in concern. This includes the material used in developing the barriers, location, shapes and dimensions.
  3. Make sure that there is no hole or any leakage of sound from any side of the barriers.

These are three factors to consider while developing the environmental noise barriers.

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