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Noise Pollution

  1. Arline L. Bronzaft

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0607

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Bronzaft, A. L. 2010. Noise Pollution. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. City University of New York

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Noise and sound do indeed differ in that noise is unwanted, intrusive, and bothersome sound that has been judged at a higher cognitive level. Some sounds may be deemed pleasant by some listeners while the same sounds are judged as intrusive and annoying by other listeners; yet at other times, the same sounds once judged pleasant can become disturbing in another context. As a result, the oft-heard expression “Music to some people; noise to others” has been quoted to argue that little can be done to abate noise. However, in trying to curb noise, ordinances and laws have been passed based on the concept of the “reasonable person” standard. In other words, would a person of reasonable sensitivities deem this particular sound to be noise? These ordinances and laws have been passed because noise pollution has grown immensely in the past century, due in large part to advances in noise-producing and noise-related technology. Additionally, a growing body of research has demonstrated that noise can no longer be viewed as “simply annoying;” rather, noise is a serious mental and physical health hazard.


  • noise and health;
  • noise and learning;
  • noise legislation