Monday, October 25, 2004

City is getting noisier

The city is getting noisier. And Bangaloreans are reacting by pumping up their own volume or with falling tolerance to noise
Times of India

DO you hear yourself talking louder now than you did a few years ago? Is your TV volume or the phone ringer set at a higher volume than before? And do you reach for the volume up button on the car stereo while on the road? If you answered yes to any of these, you are just another Bangalorean getting used to, or reacting, to an environment that’s getting increasingly louder. It’s another thing that by pumping up the volume, you are also contributing to the ambient noise, but then you don’t have many options.

Doctors say people react to high ambient noise in different ways — some adapt to the environment and start raising the volume in almost everything in their daily life; those whose work requires them to use their voice in a loud environment end up straining their hearing and vocal chords; in others, tolerance to noise drops below normal because of constant exposure to loudness.

Says E V Raman, ENT surgeon, “In Bangalore noise-induced difficulties are visible, especially among people whose quiet neighbourhoods have suddenly been exposed to a lot of noise. It could be either because of diversions due to flyover work or construction activity in the area.” According to him, people of all age groups get affected, but older people are more prone to it.

“The Loudness Discomfort Level is usually an ambient noise of above 90 decibel. But constant exposure to high noise sometimes lowers people’s LDL and they cannot tolerate even normal noise. We see patients of

all types — hearing loss, buzzing sound in the ear, loss of sleep, vocal chord fatigue, irritability, headache, lower LDL,” Raman adds.

When architect BK Ramprakash moved to BTM Layout nine years ago, it was a quiet neighbourhood. “Since the past two years all the traffic from the Ring Road to JP Nagar and Bannerghatta Road is diverted towards our lane due to the Jayadeva Institute flyover construction. Till then, this lane used to take onetenth the traffic it takes now. My elderly mother moved to my brother’s house because of the noise. I do have problems but don’t know whether to blame the traffic or my advancing years,” he says.

Bina Bhambhani, who has come to Bangalore after a year to visit her mother, says, “With construction work and offices in the vicinity and heavy traffic all around, noise levels in my mother’s house on Haudin Road have gone up d r a m at i c a l ly since the last time I was here. Now we have to pump the TV volume really high; if the TV’s on, we can’t hear the phone ring. I keep the fan on the whole night to cut down some of the outside noise. I feel it’s making me cranky,” she says.

Over a period of time most people get used to high noise, like Manisha Sarma, who lives on Bannerghatta Road. “We’ve been here for four years and the traffic noise doesn’t bother us anymore. But guests have a problem. Funnily, we feel odd in silent places. Recently we visited my husband’s brother in a tea estate in Assam and the quiet surroundings felt too strange!”

• Interference with speech communication and other auditory signals
• Annoyance and aversion
• Noise-induced hearing loss
• Changes in various body systems
• Interference with sleep


At Wednesday, December 21, 2005 at 2:02:00 PM GMT+5:30, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Drastic change in cultural change is required to bring down noise pollution..
Dr.Mercy Sabu
ENT Surgeon
St Marthas Hospital


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