Today is celebrated World Noise Awareness Day. A necessary day to raise awareness about how excess decibels affect our hearing ability and quality of life. The data supports this need: almost half of Spaniards live with excessive noise, according to a study carried out by UMusic. To demonstrate this, the company has organized this morning in Barcelona and Seville the so-called ‘Noise routewith stops and measurements at certain points in both cities.
According to him ‘Study on the noise level and the environment in Spain’ prepared by UMusic, 41% of Spaniards claim to be surrounded by annoying noises in their home or neighborhood. In the case of Catalonia, this response has been given by more than one million people (49.5%), of which more than 60% also claim to be exposed to these sounds for more than 2 hours a day. In the case of Andalusia, the percentage is the same, with more than one and a half million affected.
Given these data, and with the aim of raising awareness among the population of the need to reduce noise pollution rates, UMusic has organized this morning in Barcelona and Seville ‘The Noise Route’, a tour to show some of the noisiest points in both cities, where the 65dB threshold is periodically exceeded, level recommended by the WHO (World Health Organization). The route in both cases has had separate UMusic specialists: in Barcelona Núria Salvà has acted as guide, while in Seville the directions and answers have been offered by Carlos Carbonell.
In the case of Barcelona, the decibel level on some of the main roads exceeds 80 dB. To these records in La Gran Vía, Ronda General Miter, Diagonal, Avinguda de Sarrià or La Via Laietana we must add the peaks that involve sounds such as the horn of a car (110dB), the works (100dB) or the siren of an ambulance (107dB).
In the Andalusian capital, the most central points of the city of Seville, such as Avenida Menéndez y Pelayo, Eduardo Dato Street or Avenida de la Buhaira, can be reached during the day, and during hours of intense traffic, 75dB.
Traffic and construction, the most hated sounds
The UMusic study on the noise level in Spain also points out the noises most hated by people, among which traffic and construction work stand out. At home, the most annoying sound is that generated by parties or dinners organized by neighbors. The work environment is also another of the places with the most noise pollution. In this sense, 36% of Andalusians and 40% of Catalans acknowledge that they work with noise, although only 13.5% of the former and 5% of the latter use hearing protectors.
Lack of awareness
The UMusic study also shows a worrying fact. Although the majority of respondents consider that it would be necessary for the public administration to promote measures to reduce noise, only 9% of Catalans and 7% of Andalusians are in favor, for example, of stopping using private cars. So what Excess noise seriously affects health, causing hearing loss and other disorders such as insomnia, stress and cardiovascular effects. Just one piece of information to illustrate this risk: For every decibel above 65dB that is registered in an area, hospital admissions increase by 5.3%, especially for cardiovascular causes.