Monday, September 8, 2008

Deadly Noise

Description of issue/problem:

Loud sound is widely known to be detrimental to workplace safety because it can cause exposed workers to experience hearing loss and tinnitus. Due to this, there are extensive regulations and measures in place to protect workers who work under excessively loud conditions. However, the lesser known fact is that much quieter sounds also pose certain threats to health. Here I just want to talk about some problems that may be arisen by such noises.

Sound as a stimulus to humans is very powerful because it has the ability to affect emotion as well as cause physiological changes. When people hear sounds, they are affected psychologically depending on how they perceive what they hear. Music for example has powerful mood-altering capabilities which may then be accompanied by a physiological change such as a change in heart rate. Sound which is perceived to be unpleasant or irritating is called noise. It is important to note that a sound which is noise to one person may not bother the next person at all. Generally, people involved in the activity that causes the sound will not have a problem with it, but to some people who are around and not involved in it, that sound may acquire the properties of noise . Such kind of noise can come from anywhere and from anything. Even sounds which are relatively quiet such as the inconsistent and incessant beeping of an office photocopier can be noise. It can be generated by equipment and machinery, people, and audio systems for example. It can also come from outdoors, such as traffic and construction site.

This is a especially widespread problem in Singapore which is a rapidly developing city-state being engaged in the expansion of infrastructure and the development of new areas. Since it is a small nation with limited land area, this leads to the crowding of city centres. Along with this, the noise level and the number of people affected by it are also rising. The effects of noise must be brought to light immediately so that the growth of the problem can be slowed down and measures can be taken to silence the noise before it is too late.

Individually, noise makes it impossible for people to get relaxed. This causes blood pressure and heart rate to increase and makes central nervous system to work along with hormonal systemsto keep the mind and body alert. Then of course, by definition, noise causes annoyance and irritation which cause people who work in noisy environment to be under constant stress. Over time, these conditions can lead to cardiovascular disorders, disruption of sleep patterns, and various mental illnesses such as depression.

Research Questions:

How much do you know about Noise Pollution in Singapore and to what extent it has influenced our normal day life?

Purpose Statement:

The objective of the report is to determine and raise the awareness of the public on the issue of noise pollution. Hopefully, it may also get some attention from relevant authorities, such as Singapore Environment Council and National Environment Agency.

Reasons for surveys:

No authority in Singapore has made any regulations or even given any recommendations to deal with Noise Pollution because unlike very loud noise, it is not a very apparent danger. The majority of people remain unaware of the effects of such noise and so even solutions which are available have not been implemented. That's why I believe an attitudinal survey would be necessary for us to know the public's general knowledge on this so that we would be able to study it further and provide some feasible solutions.


Angeline said...

Hi Dongge,

Firstly, I am not familiar with this topic, so it sort of caught my attention. :) I believe many Singaporeans like me do not have much knowledge on noise pollution and to investigate it further, a survey will be good. It will also provide the relevant organisations with an idea on how Singaporeans view this problem and their responses to it.

We could also possibly refine the research topic and make it more specific to a certain audience, such as exploring the effects of noise pollution on students in local universities. As we all know that students are under constant stress in the study environment, we can investigate if other factors, such as noise pollution, can add on to this constant stress.

Brad Blackstone said...


This topic is interesting. In fact, I'm a person who is very sensitive to sounds and I'm often surprised at how others appear oblivious.

For your framework, you need to rephrase your general research question so that it is directed at a particular audience (those you will survey), in the third person.