Second-hand noise is an unwanted airborne pollutant produced by others. It is imposed on us without our consent, often against our wills, and at times, places, and volumes over which we have no control. There is growing evidence that noise pollution is not merely an annoyance; like other forms of pollution, it has wide-ranging adverse health, social, and economic effects.
Many people are not aware of it or even think about it, but noise affects us without our being consciously aware of it. We can shut our eyes to exclude unwanted or potentially harmful visual images, but try shutting your ears voluntarily to exclude unwanted noise. Our hearing mechanisms are always on even when we are asleep.
Mankind has been plagued by both natural and manmade affliction. In the 21st Century, we have little choice when it comes to noise and experiencing the man-made infestation of environmental noise from which there is virtually no escape, no matter where we are – in our homes and yards, on our streets, in our cars, at theaters, restaurants, parks, arenas, and in other public places. Despite attempts to regulate it, noise pollution has become an unfortunate fact of life worldwide and it just seems to be getting worse.
The noise problems of the past pale in significance when compared with those experienced by modern city dwellers; noise pollution continues to grow in extent, frequency, and severity as a result of population growth, urbanization, and technological developments.
Whether you make the noise or not, the reality is second-hand noise is everywhere these days. It’s virtually inescapable. Our modern roadways (including road, rail, and air) and the products of modern power machinery and technology produce increasing levels of unwanted noise of varying types and intensities throughout the day and night that disturb sleep, detract from our ability to concentration, make us tired, increase anxiety and stress, and can raise blood pressure and cause headaches.