Background Information


What is noise pollution?

Undesirable sound is referred as noise.

In recent years, noise pollution has been a hot topic of discussion among researchers. Noise that is continuous or lasts for a short period can equally be detrimental to our health. Some music enthusiasts say that intermittent noise is not hazardous, but this isn't true, even intermittent noise can negatively impact human hearing in the long run.

Common sources of noise include vehicular traffic, factories involved in the manufacturing process, and home appliances like vacuum cleaners and music systems. Fast becoming a major environmental issue, noise pollution effects on health have increased rapidly in the last few years.

Humans, animals, plants and even inert objects like buildings and bridges have been victims of the increasing noise pollution caused in the world. Be it human or machine-created, noise disrupts the activity and balance of life. While traffic dons the cap of being the largest noise maker throughout the world, there are many others that add to it, making our globe susceptible to its effects.

How does it affects animals?

Man made noise pollution has made the Earth an uncomfortable place to stay for animals as well. Hearing loss and rapid increase in heart rate are some of the ill-effects of noise pollution on animals. High intensity sound induces fear, forcing them to abandon their habitat. Other effects include:

  • Anxious behavior in animals is commonly observed in the form of trembling when they are exposed to high decibel levels. Intolerable noise levels can decrease a cow's capacity of milk production. These animals require a calm and relaxed environment to provide a better milk yield.
  • Research has proven that aircraft induced noise is responsible for a significant decrease in reproduction activity in a wide range of animals. Noise pollution effects can also be seen on chicken in the form of a sharp drop in egg production. Stunted growth in chickens due to intense noise has also been observed.
  • Underwater animals such as whales and dolphins too experience discomfort due to noise pollution caused by submarines, shipping companies, and sonars, and are often left stranded washed up upon sandy shores due to communication malfunctions.
  • Birds in urban areas, that use their sharp hearing abilities to hunt prey, are at loss due to intervention of man made noise. High noise levels can also negatively affect the breeding and feeding patterns of some animals. This is one of the reasons why certain species have become extinct.
  • Sea animals produce varying sound levels among each other. However, the noise of commercial ships does not allow these animals to communicate properly, which can wreak havoc on their reproductive function. Sonar navy tests can hurt the whale's ear and reduce its ability to breed and feed.
  • The population of spadefoot toads in the Yosemite region of the Sierras is declining rapidly because of low-flying military training missions in the area. The toad calls lose their synchronicity, and coyotes and owls home in on individual frogs trying to rejoin the chorus.


SeaFlow, a non-profit organization, goes on a voyage to protect our sea sanctuaries. There is an increase in vessel traffic along the California Coastline, even within the national marine sanctuaries. This creates a negative interaction with sea life because they interrupt the underwater communications among whales and other marine animals. 

It affects plants too!

Noise pollution indirectly affects the vegetation. Plants require cool & peaceful environment to grow. Noise pollution causes poor quality of crops.