HT Spotlight | Ec(h)o-friendly Diwali in Chandigarh: All that noise, all that sound
Dta from the past 4 years found that the sound level rises to 86.3 decibel in sector 22, worst-hit area during Diwali.punjab Updated: Oct 14, 2017 13:15 IST
The festival season arrives with a series of big bangs on Dussehra, and the din that accompanies crackers and loud music continues until Diwali, when it reaches a crescendo.
Although there is no dearth of advisories against the ill effects of sound pollution, most people in the tricity are turning a deaf ear to it. The data collated by Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee (CPCC) in the last four years found that the sound level in the city rises to 86.3 decibel between 9 pm and 10 pm on the D-Day in Sector 22, which suffers the worst noise pollution in Chandigarh.
Normally, the noise levels in the city hover between 60 and 64 decibel, with residential areas being much quieter.
Pramod Sharma, coordinator of Yuvsatta, an NGO, which has been campaigning against both noise and air pollution, rued that most people don’t know that a sudden increase in noise levels could be harmful for the heart.
- The eventual results of hearing losses are depression, impaired speech, impaired school and job performance and a sense of isolation
- For children, hearing loss affects communication, cognition, behaviour, social-emotional development, academic outcomes, and later vocational opportunities
“It also leads to hypertension, lack of sleep, and even affects cognitive development in kids,” he said. Sharma claimed that on Diwali night, the average sound level in the city crosses 100 to 120 dB, which can permanently damage hearing.
“Every year, teams of doctors and nurses work all night on Diwali because of the number of patients who fall prey to sound and noise pollution,” he fumed. Speaking to HT, PJS Dadwal, member secretary, CPCC, said despite awareness drives by the UT administration, the noise level remains above the prescribed limits.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), firecrackers can emit sound, measuring 150 decibel, that can cause what doctors call eardrum perforation.
The Big Bang
According to World health Organisation (WHO), noise levels are acceptable to a limit of 70dB to the human ear and continuous exposure to decibel levels higher than 70dB can lead to hearing loss.
- A good rule is to avoid noises that are too loud, too close, or last too long, according to the National Institute of Health, US
- Wear earplugs when there is loud activity involved
- Move away from the source of noise
- Undergo audiogram tests to check for hearing loss
- Children should be protected as they are even more vulnerable
Firecrackers and firearms or any sudden explosion can emit sound 150 decibels. It can cause rupture of the ear drum or what doctors call ear drum perforation. This is repairable but at time the nerves get damaged. As the hearing and balance nerves are together, some people develop vertigo, meaning they are unable to balance themselves.
Psychological irritation such as anxiety can cause damage to the hearing nerves. Loud noise can lead to tinnitus – a ringing or buzzing, in the ears and head. Though it can subside, there are instances where patients continue to suffer from it throughout life. This can even effect sleep.
Indirect effects of noise pollution are well-documented, said doctors. Any noise that goes beyond 120 decibels has the potentialto damage a person’s hearing capacity.
If a person is exposed to noise, it can lead to an increase in blood pressure, which in turn activates these latent blockages, leading to a heart attack.