What Does “Noise Pollution” Mean?


Noise features different characteristics that make it different from every other “classic” pollutant. Noise is invisible; it does not smell; it disappears when the source is turned off and leaves no traces in the environment. In addition, when people perceive something wrong about their hearing capacity, it is often long time after the beginning of noise exposure. This fact contributes to strengthening the misconception that noise is not harmful to human health or, at least, efforts and funds aim preferably at controling and decreasing the emission of other pollutants. Adding to this, most people tend to consider that noise is the price to pay for accessing to the amenities of the Technological Era and it is indivisible and inevitably linked to them. Last but not least, noise pollution could adversely affect ecosystems and ecological services. Then, how is it possible to convince the decision makers that noise pollution is one of the major current environmental problems? The aim of this paper is to discuss step by step the applicability of noise of a “pollution” definition, as a way to ease the understanding that lowering environmental noise levels should be prioritized: because it will lead to a healthier and better society.

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González, A. (2014) What Does “Noise Pollution” Mean?. Journal of Environmental Protection, 5, 340-350. doi: 10.4236/jep.2014.54037.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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