"There was thunder nest

flint and marble. "

Miguel Hernandez.


We live in a world of noise. Noise is one of the most insidious environmental aggressions of modern society. Coexist in the urban crowd noise sources, which when combined in an anarchic way contribute to sound environmental degradation. Road traffic is the main source of noise. Other important sources are public works and building, as well as markets, bars, garbage disposal, outdoor shows, etc..

Noise pollution is a problem not only in big cities but also rural communities. Three out of four Spanish who live in a city are exposed to a noise level that the World Health Organization (WHO) considers unhealthy. According to an OECD report, Spain is one of the countries with highest percentage of people exposed to high ambient noise levels. One in four Spanish support levels above 65 decibels (A), considered as a limit tolerance or acceptability.

The research findings coincide in pointing out that noise pollution is a serious threat to health and quality of life of the population.

What determines whether a sound becomes noise, "sound is not accepted and therefore rejected," is the way it is perceived and evaluated by the human recipient.

Besides the effect on hearing, sustained exposure to high noise levels can cause many physiological effects that particularly affect the cardiovascular system, respiratory and digestive systems. The exposure of pregnant workers to high noise levels at work can affect the fetus.

Regarding the psychological effects resulting from exposure to noise, the most common is the discomfort. This reaction stems from psychological causes included in the multiple interference caused by noise in the various human activities such as communication and sleep.

Besides preventing the enjoyment of adequate rest, noise may adversely affect attention span and concentration, learning difficult and decreasing performance. It may also cause alterations in behavior that, momentarily, may become more irritable and even aggressive.

The noise causes huge health costs, social and industrial, and is directly responsible for thousands of accidents, 1.5 per cent of lost working days and up to 20 percent of psychiatric consultations.

In conclusion it should be stressed the importance of today fighting noise pollution, in order to achieve a less aggressive environment than at present. The sound control is a responsibility of society must understand the importance for health and wellness a suitable acoustic environment. And as the poet said: "Sing softly Creek / loudly as the torrent. / And the voices of the two / current takes them. "

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