Effects of Noise Pollution on Human Health

In the 21st century, people everywhere face pollution on a daily basis. And of all the different forms of pollution, noise pollution is both overlooked and damaging, making it an unnoticed threat.

The health dangers of noise pollution are many and, though rarely fatal, can lead to extreme discomfort and deafness. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to combat noise pollution and its harmful effects.

So, What Is Noise Pollution?

According to the EPA, noise is usually defined as “unwanted or disturbing sound.” Noise pollution is noise that intrudes into a place where the sound is unwanted and harmful. And noise pollution is more than annoying — it’s dangerous. In order to better understand that danger, we use decibels to measure the intensity and loudness of sound.

The level of decibels that cause noise pollution effects on humans is relatively low. For instance, anything louder than 85 decibels can harm your ears and cause long-lasting hearing damage. Something as mundane as city traffic, or even a lawnmower, produces decibels in the 80-90 range.

Graphic showing various sound frequencies & how they infiltrate: insulate against noise pollution

So, we know what constitutes noise pollution, but how does noise pollution affect humans?

The way we perceive sound is also the way we are harmed by sound. Fundamentally, sound is vibrations in the air. These vibrations are “read” by tiny hair cells in your ears which transmit the vibrations to your brain. When those vibrations are too big (i.e. high decibels), they can damage those hair cells permanently. They can’t be repaired, and they don’t regrow. This sort of damage is known as Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL).

Besides NIHL, noise pollution can cause high blood pressure and subsequent heart problems. The high-decibel signals that get sent to the brain can stimulate the brain in such a way that it releases adrenaline which can over-excite your heart and cause stress.

Children are especially susceptible to noise pollution. Studies have shown that noise pollution leads to impaired memory, attention, and reading skill.

Now that we know how noise pollution affects human health, we can learn how to combat it and prevent it.

What You Can Do About It

woman installing Indow window inserts to reduce noise next to bookshelves

Noise pollution poses an obvious threat. The trick with fighting hearing loss is not to treat damage, but to prevent it.

Protecting your hearing can be as quick as slipping in a pair of earplugs when mowing the lawn or when you’re using loud products to clean your home. However, there are noises out of your control that can infiltrate your house. Plus, it’s not really that fun to wear earplugs all day long in your own home. The solution? Get earplugs for your house itself.

With all the everyday noises, it can be hard to actually tell if those sounds are putting your hearing in danger. Most people don’t have a decibel meter on hand to see if the traffic outside has been damaging their ears and hearing.

In short, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you find yourself feeling stressed or annoyed from the nearby airport, the train that passes right by your backyard, or the hum of the interstate fifty yards away, then you are suffering from noise pollution.

The good news is that you’ve done the first step to solving the problem: identifying it.

If the noise pollution source is external to your home, you always have the option of filing a noise complaint, but that’s a short-term fix for a long-term problem. Before you set about combating noise pollution, it’s important to identify the source. Is the pollution coming from within the house or outside of it? The source of the sound will determine whether or not you need to use sound-absorbing or soundproofing methods.

Sound Absorbing

Sound absorption deals with reducing the noise that occurs within a room or enclosed space. Sound waves bounce off of surfaces, and the harder and flatter the surface, the more the waves will bounce. Here are a few ways to soften up a room and increase sound absorption:

Carpets and Rugs:

A nice rug can really tie the room together and reduce noise pollution to boot. They’re stylish, take almost no effort to install, and are a quick way to neutralize a highly reflective surface.

Tapestries and Curtains:

Walls and ceilings love soundwaves, that’s why auditoriums are typically designed to have highly concave stone surfaces to really trap that sound and amplify it. You can flip those properties on their heads and modify your walls to be convex and soft. Use tapestries, bookshelves, curtains, even industry-grade noise-canceling panels , anything to reduce the hard, flat surface area that sound waves love.

Soundproofing

man installing window insert to block noise and drafts

In most cases, noise pollution is an external problem. We live in a noisy world, but your house should be for peace and quiet. Soundproofing is a great way to keep all the annoying and damaging noise out of everything ranging from your home office to your whole apartment. Let’s review the pros and cons of a few simple methods that will do wonders for your hearing.

Bookshelves:

If you share a wall with a noisy neighbor, bookshelves are a great way to block out their conversations and loud music. The only prerequisite here is a bookshelf and enough books to fill it.

Seal Your Doors:

If you live in an apartment with an adjoining hallway, you know the pains of people walking up and down that hallway at all hours of the day. Replacing your apartment door with something substantially thick, as well as caulking the edges of the frame, will cut that noise in half.

Install Window Inserts:

Un-insulated windows let in a ton of noise pollution, almost more than any other part of your house. Window inserts are a boon for homeowners and renters alike who either can’t or don’t wish to make substantial renovations to their windows. They’re easy to install and brands like Indow offer up to a 70% reduction* in noise .

Out of all the available soundproofing materials, window inserts provide some of the best sound insulation money can buy. They’re inexpensive, easy to install, and offer more than just protection against noise pollution. Indow is renowned throughout the industry not only for their window inserts, but the lengths they go to ensure that their inserts will fit your window frames and will provide the best protection possible.

We’ve seen the effects of noise pollution on human health and now we know the methods and the means necessary to keep our homes and our ears safe from unwanted and damaging noise.

If you’re confident that inserts are an affordable, efficient, and easy solution to the garbage trucks driving by in the morning or the lawnmowers in the afternoon, head over to Indow and get an estimate today to be one step closer to some peace and quiet. Or check out our FAQ page for more information on window inserts, their benefits, and more.

*We want to ensure our inserts help solve your noise problem. Overall noise reduction depends on the amount of noise coming through your walls, ceilings, floors, doors, and existing windows. Noise reduction will be less when placed over double-pane windows. Read our full Noise Reduction Sheet to learn more.

Customer Reviews

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4.49 Average 1494 Reviews

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Paula S

From start to finish, we were very pleased with our rep, Reed, and the other staff at the PDX will call! The inserts themselves are stupendous! We purchased six total for the noisiest, road side(s) of our home. The outcome was beyond our expectations! Not only did the three rooms that bordered the road become at least 70% quieter, the other end of our home did as well! I cannot recommend Indow inserts more! The technology makes sense to add the inserts rather than purchasing new windows. Great results and thank you! Paul and Paula Spilsbury

Posted 4 weeks ago

JD

Brian was very helpful & informative. He helped me order the correct windows for my needs. They were shipped with the utmost of care & arrived ahead of schedule. Ultimately, the Indow Windows have been very helpful in muffling unwanted noises & they have helped save on our energy costs. Thank you, Indow Window!

Posted 1 month ago

Cynthia M

Very happy with the reduction in noise. Easy to install and use. Great customer service.

Posted 2 months ago

Juli E

We are thrilled with our Indow window inserts! I'd been on the lookout for a more permanent solution to leaky windows in our third floor living space. I discovered Indow on social media but since then have learned of friends who'd had Indow recommended to them by their rennovation contractor. The entire process went smoothly with friendly reps at hand to talk through questions during measuring, etc. They fit perfectly and help us to maintain the beautiful design of the windows on our 100 year old home! Highly recommend!!

Posted 3 months ago

Jen F

Worth the money!

Posted 3 months ago

Elizabeth H

For townhouse living, this solved my problem with noise from my neighbor's with my kitchen window. A considerable decrease of noise indeed! Measurements were a bit frustrating so I recommend using a laser measurement device and following directions to use a string for the diagonal. They look great and were easy to push into place. I highly recommend as an alternative to buying a new window.

Posted 4 months ago

Anonymous

Easy to install, and instantly stopped drafts and dampened outside noises very effectively!

Posted 4 months ago

Robert C

The process could've been smoother with the sending of the measuring kit. There was a delay with weather in Oregon but then it felt like my kit was still delayed due to other reasons. Most new homes (like mine) have textured paint and it can also be inside your window frames. I measured everything out but I still have little tiny gaps due to the texturing. Not indows problem but just be aware you made need to sand or fill in those gaps yourself to get a perfect seal. I did the acoustic grade inserts and they have reduced some noise but they will not completely block or significantly reduce road noise. This is most apparent with deep or lower frequencies like truck exhausts or modified street racing cars that are quite popular these days. Taking the inserts out to open your windows isn't an easy task. The little metal hook they provide needs to be either bigger or you can attach something to it as a way to leverage yourself. Overall the process was average. I think they're definitely a good option for weatherproofing and some sound reduction depending on the type of windows you have. I would purchase again.

Posted 4 months ago

Shelley C

The process for ordering and installing the Indow Widnow inserts was so easy. They sent the measuring information and it had great instructions. The inserts were delivered by UPS was crushed on one corner, but the company had packed them well, so there was no damage. We installed them the same day. It works best if you have two people completing the installation. We felt the results immediately and are glad we spent the money to make our home just a little more efficient.

Posted 4 months ago

Barry B

The insert fits like a glove and insulates the window! No more frost and condensation on the interior of the window! Thank you for an easy, effective and attractive fix!

Posted 4 months ago

Susan A

The support during the entire process was wonderful, thank you so much for the extra quiet space!

Posted 4 months ago

Volodymyr R

Very good good quality. Overall very satisfied with this product and service. Thanks

Posted 4 months ago

Jane H

Our home was built in 1913 and has beautiful old wavy glass single-paned windows. I’m so glad we were told about Indows and didn’t have to replace the original windows. We live in Canada but had no difficulty placing the order and were very impressed by how accurately the company met its deadlines, including cross border delivery. The Indows inserts blend in perfectly with our home and the existing window frames. You don’t see them unless you’re actually looking for them. But what we did notice was how much warmer the rooms feel the minute the inserts were installed! I can’t speak to any heating bill savings because they just went in this week, but our home feels much, much cozier. Our contractor who took all the measurements and installed the Indows says: “Excellent instructional videos: clear and informative. Very impressed with the design and the product. Overall, the ease of installation is quite impressive. Working with all the staff at the company was great – everyone was very helpful.” I’m already recommending this company to any of my friends who live in drafty older homes and want to reduce their heating/cooling bills and do some good for the environment.

Posted 5 months ago

Anonymous

Don't be afraid of buying an older home with single pane windows. This company has you covered. Their inserts are super high quality and fit well thanks to the laser measuring kit they send. Highly recommended!

Posted 5 months ago

Katie M

We purchased three Indows to reduce drafts and noise in our bedroom, which faces the street. The improvement was immediate. Our house was built in 1958 and although we have exterior storm windows we didn't want to replace the windows outright due to cost and architectural consistency. These were an excellent solution.

Posted 5 months ago