Noise Pollution Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Kelly Beaty

Kelly has taught fifth grade language arts and adult ESL. She has a master's degree in education and a graduate certificate in TESOL.

There is an invisible form of pollution that we don't normally think about. Learn about noise pollution and how it affects people and animals. Then find out how you can protect yourself from this form of pollution.

The Invisible Pollution

Ouch! My ears hurt!

Have you ever felt this way around loud noises? If so, you were probably experiencing the effects of noise pollution. Noise pollution is the word scientists give to sounds that can harm the people and creatures who hear them.

You can usually see pollution on the land, in the air, or in water. But noise pollution is invisible - you can't see it, but it is still harmful to those who get in its path.

Noise pollution is no fun.
ear holding

When Sound Becomes Pollution

Sounds are all around us. You wake up to an alarm clock. The phone rings. Your cat meows. The ability to hear sounds is a great gift. Not all sounds are pleasant, but they are necessary. Car and airplane engines, mowers, loudspeakers - these kinds of things help people function in the world.

Unfortunately, these necessary sounds sometimes reach a volume that is dangerous for people and animals alike. If they get too loud or last too long, they become noise pollution.

Nobody likes the sound of a jackhammer, but we all know that it is sometimes necessary for road repairs. If a jackhammer operated outside your bedroom all night long, this would be noise pollution. It would keep you from sleeping; as a result, it would harm your health.

Even happy sounds become pollution when they cause harm to those who hear them. For example, some people love fireworks. They love how they look, and the big booms they make. But if a firework explodes too close to you, it could damage your ears.

These two examples, a long-running or close-by jackhammer and loud fireworks that are too close, show how sounds can become pollution when they either last too long or become too loud.

Jackhammers are very loud - even the man working the hammer in this photo is wearing ear protection.

The Problem with Noise Pollution

Noise pollution is not just annoying; it can cause health problems for people and animals. For example, loud noises can cause hearing loss. Noise pollution can also affect sleep, because the noise keeps you up at night. Not getting enough sleep affects your health - it makes you tired and grumpy and less able to concentrate. Some people get headaches and even serious heart problems with constant noise pollution.

Noise pollution can cause headaches, loss of sleep, hearing loss and other problems.

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