Impact of Traffic-Related Environmental Noise on School Children and Teachers in a Northeast Brazilian Capital

Ivan José Ary Junior, Mario Angelo Nunes de Azevedo Filho, Francisco Suetônio Bastos Mota, Nara Gabriela de Mesquita Peixoto, Francisco Aurélio Chaves Brito

Abstract


Environmental noise in urban areas is known to cause functional abnormalities reflected in human health and behavior. In developing countries such as Brazil, public schools are exposed to high levels of noise due in part to poor infrastructure, especially with regard to noise protection. In schools exposed to noise levels above the limits specified by regulations and international guidelines, students and teachers are at greater risk of health problems, and performance may be compromised. In this study we evaluated the impact of environmental noise on children and teachers at three public schools (a kindergarten, an elementary school and a high school) in a Northeast Brazilian metropolis, with emphasis on noise generated by street, metro and air traffic. Environmental noise maps were generated with software and teachers were administered questionnaires focusing on the impact of noise pollution on health and performance. The study was intended to subsidize efforts at urban planning and public policy making by measuring actual noise levels and probing their possible effects. As shown by our results, public schools are in urgent need of noise protection measures, and enforcement of noise emission regulations for public transportation needs to be more emphatic.

Keywords


NOISE POLLUTION; NOISE MAPPING; NOISE ASSESSMENT; NOISE LIMITS; NOISE IN SCHOOLS

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