The world is loud and we are so used to it that often we don’t notice it anymore. However, whether we realize it or not, noise pollution negatively affects our health and our livelihood. The constant rumbling of cars driving by, the clamoring of construction, and the humming of machines takes a toll on our bodies by increasing stress, fatigue, and irritability, while decreasing concentration. This is especially true for people working in business districts and among commercial areas.
Noise pollution also damages the economy by making employees less productive and ill more often. There are more workplace accidents when high noise levels are present. It even affects memory and the ability to plan and reason. Noise pollution of course causes hearing loss but it can also cause cardiovascular disease, sleep problems, insulin resistance, vertigo, anxiety, and more, according to Noise and Health.
And it gets worse. High noise levels also have drastic effects on children. Children that go to school or daycare in areas with high noise levels can experience learning problems. They show lower scores on reading and language tests and they develop behavioral problems like aggression and attention issues, according to the Oxford Journals.
Even unborn babies are negatively affected by continuous noise. It can increase the chance of a premature delivery or a low birth weight baby, according to Livestrong.
Luckily, there are options for building owners who want to protect their occupants. The best way to decrease the amount of noise that reaches those inside a building is to start by building with steel. Steel buildings have much deeper wall cavities than traditional, wood buildings. This leaves more space, especially on the exterior walls, to fill with noise cancelling insulation. Churches, schools, and office buildings made of steel will protect the occupants from constant outside noises, especially in commercial areas.
The Acoustics Systems Acoustical Research Facility in Austin, Texas performs tests on buildings and gives them a stamp of approval if the building is effectively insulated from outside noise starting at levels of 125Hz and up to 4000Hz. You will find many steel buildings with a sticker that says, “ASTM E90-04.”
With a steel building, children and adults will be able to concentrate without noise. Sounds good, right?