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How To Reduce Acoustic Noise Damage

by Criss Gill


From a physical point of view, noise consists of variations in atmospheric pressure transmitted with a specific frequency and amplitude through a medium, in our case air, and perceptible by the auditory organ. It is, therefore, a propagation of mechanical energy in the form of successive overpressure fronts. This type of energy is known as sound energy.

Sound is a longitudinal, mechanical wave that does not travel in a vacuum and propagates in all directions. The wavefront is spherical; likewise, it can stimulate the human ear and produce sound sensations. Therefore, the study of sound should be treated differently, the physical aspects and physiological aspects related to hearing.

Noise pollution, or acoustic pollution, hurts the health and well-being of people. The situation is even more critical if we consider that noise sources are becoming more numerous and with higher levels both inside and outside buildings. Consequently, it is increasingly important to find solutions to control noise levels. Noise can be a problem in many places, not just construction sites and factories, but everywhere from farms to entertainment venues, from schools to concert halls.

The most common health problems from noise pollution are:

Hearing problems. Progressive hearing loss or constant whistling are some of the adverse effects of regularly being subjected to excessive noise in the environment.

Physiological problems. Noise can directly affect our body and cause an increase in heart and respiratory rate or even blood pressure.

Sleep problems. Alteration of the sleep cycle, insomnia, drowsiness during the day, tiredness, or attention deficit are some of the consequences of living under the umbrella of noise pollution.

Psychological problems. Excess noise causes irritability, stress, anxiety, communication problems, and even aggressiveness.

Regardless of the workplace, three fundamental measures can prevent people from suffering harm:

  • Assess the risks.
  • Adopt measures to prevent or control risks.
  • Monitoring and review the effectiveness of the actions taken.

Noise reduction, either at its source or in its path, should be a priority of noise management programs and consider both the design and maintenance of equipment and the workplace. A variety of engineering controls can be used for this purpose, such as:

Isolation at the source by localization, confinement, or damping of vibration using metal or pneumatic springs or elastomer mounts;

Reduction in the path or at the source by using fences and barriers such as soundwalls.com or mufflers on exhaust pipes or reducing shear, fan, or impact velocities. These barriers are produced with a sound-absorbing material that can reduce sound up to 32 dB. Besides, this material does not absorb water or dirt and is fire resistant.

Replacing or modifying machinery, for example, by replacing gear drives with belt drives or using power tools instead of pneumatic tools;

The application of quieter materials, such as rubber liners in buckets, conveyors, and vibrators;

Active noise reduction (“anti-noise”) in certain circumstances. 

soundwalls.com noise barriers reduce noise levels below damage or nuisance thresholds. They are also weather-resistant and can withstand extreme heat and cold, rain, snow, wind, and hail. Also, they should be easy to install and maintain and aesthetically appealing.