The number of vehicles that ply on the roads of Bangalore are increasing by the day, and so is the vehicular noise pollution. 26th April is celebrated as International Noise Awareness Day, Bangalore observed a No Horn Day. Keeping this in mind, doctors from the city are of the opinion that with the increase in traffic, it is high time that we consciously make efforts to avoid vehicular noise pollution.
Long exposure to loud traffic can lead to noise induced hearing loss in some cases. “A constant noise of more than 90 decibels can lead to hearing loss. Traffic police are the worst affected. It can also lead to developing of tinnitus (buzzing sound in the ear). Tinnitus can further lead to psychological problems and the person may suffer from disturbed sleep, irregular blood pressure and sugar levels,” pointed out Dr. Santosh S, Consultant-ENT, Head and Neck Surgery, Columbia Asia Hospital, Hebbal.
“Excessive loud honking has long-term effects on people. Apart from issues with hearing, other problems like constant headaches, mood disturbance, anger, irritability is also seen among patients. These issues can further affect other organs and lead to issues like fluctuating blood pressure, hypertension, etc.,” said Dr. Santosh. It’s important for people to realize that they should only honk when it’s extremely necessary. Also, a little patience while driving can go a long way in avoiding noise pollution. People should follow lane driving and this should be an onus of the people giving driving licences. Ear marking is another solution, for example, heavy motor vehicles should not be allowed in residential zones especially with a high geriatric population, pointed out Dr Santosh. “People travelling on 2-wheelers can use earplugs and helmets to help reduce the noise pollution to a certain extent. Also, one should try to avoid heavy traffic zones as much as possible to stay safe from noise pollution,” he added.
The traffic department can put up signboards on ‘No honking’ around the city. Also, proper regulation of traffic will make people avoid honking too much. It is also important to create awareness among the people about the side effects of excessive honking. At an individual level, traffic cops can use ear plugs that reduces the noise by 10 decibels. It may be uncomfortable to wear them all the time; however, the traffic cops should make sure they use it at least in the heavy traffic time zones – morning and evening, said Dr Santosh.
Vehicular noise can have multiple effects on the ear and hence it’s important to generate awareness in order to reduce vehicular noise pollution as much as possible.
But our question is, those who don’t follow the regular more serious traffic rules, how are they going to see a sign board for no honking? Is there something we can do to tackle this situation by using principles of design thinking? We would love to hear your perspective.