Noise pollution is a big problem; it disturbing peoples sleep, increases risks of heart disease and affects learning in schools. If can also causes deafness.


Case study: Noise Pollution at Glasto

Even a great music festival like Glastonbury can cause noise problems for houses near the site. Acoustical Engineers have the job to ensure that the neighbours don’t get too annoyed.

“The job itself involved me monitoring the sound levels from The Park stage. The local council’s environmental health department set us noise limits for the festival so as to reduce noise pollution and not disturb the locals too much, we have to communicate and work with the sound engineers to make sure each stage does not go over their limits. Sometimes it does involve me having to act like the “Noise Police” and tell the engineer on my stage to turn it down, so I’m not very popular when that happens! The team also help deal with any complaints from residents.”

Elle Kalavasky

Video image Career case study: Why Elle chose to study acoustical engineering


Noise is measured using a sound level meter which gives readings in dB.

Sound level meter. Photo: Acousticator

There are many regulations and laws to control the amount of noise that is acceptable, and the enforcement of these laws often comes down to Environmental Health Officers working for your local council. Ideally, noise can be designed-out of a situation during the planning stage, but very often planning goes wrong and then sorting out noise pollution can get very expensive.

If you’re living next to a busy road and the noise is too disturbing, there are several ways to make things quieter. These include placing noise barriers between the house and the road to help block the sound, or fitting double glazing to stop the sound travelling through the windows of the house. This is important because the World Health Organisation estimates that over one million healthy life years are lost every year from traffic related noise in Western Europe.

Noise pollution and its effect on learning in schools and colleges has become a big issue recently, and acoustics plays an increasingly important part in the design of new buildings. Noise has been shown to affect how well students learn in schools.


The many sources of environmental noise that have to be prevented from entering a concert hall.

Next: Hearing Loss

1 Comment

jorge Castro · January 3, 2020 at 12:18 pm

“… Modern sound-related health threats extend far beyond music, and they affect more than hearing. Studies have shown that people who live or work in loud environments are particularly susceptible to many alarming problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, low birth weight, and all the physical, cognitive, and emotional issues that arise from being too distracted to focus on complex tasks and from never getting enough sleep…”

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