High Alert Institute



Effects of Noise Pollution It’s not just about your boss yelling at you

by | Aug 15, 2020

Noise: We think we can get used to it, but can we really? Consider: From where you are sitting (or standing) right now – listen and try to identify EVERYTHING you hear. A fan? An air conditioning unit? A laser printer? The coffee machine down the hall? Co-workers talking? What about outside? A construction worker using a jack hammer on a sidewalk? The siren of an ambulance getting louder and louder until it races by on an emergency?

We are surrounded by noise, we generate noise, but we often can’t control noise. Noise pollution is everywhere. And it’s gotten to the point where it is having a very detrimental effect on our lives. In fact, important research from the World Health Organization (WHO) has revealed environmental noise as one of the leading Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) in businesses and homes. (Both indoor and outdoor factors that contribute to the level of noise in homes and businesses is known as environmental noise.)

Ears are Fragile, but…

Ears are fragile instruments, and damage results from both volume and length of exposure to sound. Very loud noises, or chronic exposure to sound even when it is not particularly loud, can wreak havoc on hair cells, causing them to become disarranged and to degenerate. Once these hair cells are dead, they cannot be replaced, and auditory sensitivity is permanently lost. Ringing in the ears, difficulty hearing after exposure to loud noise, can signal damage to hearing.

…It’s Not Just Our Ears

But sound doesn’t just pound on our ears, our bodies feel it, too. Sound travels in waves like ripples in a pond and as pressure. The human body is impacted directly by this pressure of sound (measured in decibels). This impact is independent of the ears and is a direct result of sound pressure vibrating through hollow organs in the body (stomach, intestine, bladder, lungs, and heart). 


Over longer periods of time, the body can react by elevating blood pressure and heart rate, increasing the risk of heart attacks and stroke. For instance, SDoH analysis found that the relative risk for death by heart attack or stroke increases 14% for every 10-decibel increase above the annual average of 45 decibels daytime! (It’s worth noting that the volume in a typical business office averages 55 decibels.)

Does YOUR Business Have a Noise Problem?

The first course of action is to determine how big of a noise problem exists in YOUR business. A simple sound meter and measuring / recording device can help identify noise levels and determine what areas of your office are the loudest. 

If possible, convince other local businesses to measure the sound in their environments, too. Then, sharing community environmental data will give everyone a better idea of noise levels at various locations. Using devices linked in a network like an “Internet of Things” can assemble results and link anyone who’s interested to view the bigger picture and help determine an overall course of action.

Consider the Source

Is the noise coming from inside or outside? The solution could be something as easy as adding a door to a break room, consolidating office equipment to a specific room, or adding sound-dampening materials (such as ceiling tiles and carpeting), which can do wonders for reducing noise. If the problem is outdoors, that can get a little trickier. Highway and construction noise may require building walls or other barriers in order to block sound. Community involvement, and that of local elected officials, may offer answers.

Could YOU be Adding to the Problem?

Most of us have been conditioned to think that “background noise” is a good thing when nothing could be further from the truth. The piped-in ballads and other easy listening music from a “Muzak” system, or the “soothing” white noise effects of crashing waves, or the gentle gurgling of a stream only seem like good additions to a work environment. As we’ve seen, unnecessary noise is often BAD noise.

 According to Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) research, listening to white noise for long periods of time on a consistent basis can affect brain cells and cause tinnitus (ringing of the ears). And even if you enjoy (or at least tolerate) the Muzak at your work, chances are that it is played too loudly. Adding to sound pressure adds to workplace stress, which escalates the problem of workplace noise.


Thanks to AI analysis technology that was not available previously, the physiological and psychological effects of environmental noise on people are only now coming to light. By doing some measuring of your own, you can easily understand the sound situation at your business and take steps to reduce this “sound assault” on your particular environment. Put another way, by NOT considering the effects of excess noise on employee health and productivity, you will only add to the cost of doing business. And we all know no business wants that. 

Griffin Works offers Pawsitive Interactions with Service Dogs During Response Operations©, an audience-customized training that breaks down barriers by offering hands-on handling training and demonstrations with working service dogs for fire departments, EMS agencies, and public safety organizations.

Part of the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium and home to the National Emergency Response and Recovery Training Center, TEEX has been leading homeland security training since 1998. The major TEEX programs include fire and rescue, infrastructure and safety, law enforcement, economic and workforce development, and homeland security. As a member of The Texas A&M University System, TEEX is unique in its ability to access a broad range of emerging research and technical expertise. Beginning with course design and development all the way through hands-on instruction and national certification testing, TEEX delivers comprehensive training through both classroom and hands-on instruction and as online courses.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) was created by Congress in 2000 as part of the Children’s Health Act to raise the standard of care and increase access to services for children and families who experience or witness traumatic events. This unique network of child-serving professionals, caregivers and young adults, researchers, and national partners is committed to changing the course of children’s lives by improving their care and moving scientific gains quickly into practice across the U.S. The NCTSN is administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and coordinated by the UCLA-Duke University National Center for Child Traumatic Stress (NCCTS). 

The Emergency Management Institute (EMI) is part of the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The EMI provides national leadership in developing and delivering training to ensure that individuals and groups having key emergency management responsibilities possess the requisite skills to effectively perform their jobs.

The High Alert Institute maintains a list of reviewed courses provided by governments, universities and professional organizations. This list is geared towards the non-emergency management person who participates in disaster planning, preparedness, response, recovery or mitigation as part of their job responsibilities.

The High Alert Institute has partnered with Shutterstock to distribute stock images from the nature images donated by our supporters. For eligible stock images, Shutterstock will donate a portion of the royalty to the High Alert Institute. There is no cost to charitable organizations or to Shutterstock customers.

For eligible purchases through AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to the High Alert Institute. There is no cost to charitable organizations or to AmazonSmile customers. All you need to do is push the SMILE NOW button and select to support THE HIGH ALERT INSTITUTE on AmazonSmile.

Koi need forever homes, too! For pond enthusiasts, freshwater exotic and ornamental fish may not be available through pet stores or rescues in their area. The High Alert Institute Aquatic Pet Shelter Rehoming Program will be happy to assist you in stocking your new pond or adding a new finned friend to your school. Coming soon – when you adopt a Koi from the High Alert Institute Aquatic Pet Shelter Rehoming Program, we can arrange for delivery to your door anywhere in the continental United States.

Have you always wanted a Koi pond but don’t have the space one? Sponsor a Koi in our community shelter pond and we send you photos of your sponsored animal. Coming soon are live Koi Cameras above and below the water to enjoy your sponsored Koi anytime.

Dumping of freshwater non-native species and exotic aquatic pets into wild habitats is a man-made disaster that is truly preventable. The Institute’s Aquatic Pet Welfare Partnership works to raise awareness and reduce the impact on healthy ecosystems through education, as well as rescue and rehoming. Joined by champions of animal welfare and environmental stewardship, this  association of aquatic pet rescue operations and aquatic pet shelters across the United States aims to save our finned friends and preserve our waterways together.

Want to share our cause with family, friends, and colleagues? Looking for a non-traditional way to celebrate a birthday or honor someone special? Support the Institute by starting your own Peer-to-Peer fundraising challenge! Let your contacts know why our mission is important to you and what they can do to support your cause. START YOUR OWN FUNDRAISER for the High Alert Institute.

From the staffing pool to the shelter ponds, from the boardroom to the classroom, and from reading the science to writing the analyses, High Alert Institute programs and services benefit from the experience, expertise, and generosity of our volunteers. Put your talents to use for good and to good use – VOLUNTEER TODAY.

Make your donation twice as nice by rehoming aquatic pets and providing a rehabilitation companion pet to a deserving person, family, or facility. Sponsor part or all of a Joy of Koi Program pond installation – complete with rehomed koi – and give the gifts of love and recovery.

Professional photographers, amateurs, and legal copywrite holders are all welcome to participate in the High Alert Institute Nature Photo Donation Program. Sales of the images benefit the Institute and donors are eligible for tax deductions equivalent to the fair market value of their photos. Landscapes, seascapes, animals, flowers – all may be accepted – whether new or vintage  images. People may be included in the photo but only if unidentifiable (i.e., blurred figures at a distance).

Did you know that unused patents and copyrights can be donated to charity? Intellectual Property (IP) just sitting on a shelf will lose value as it becomes obsolete. The High Alert Institute IP Donation Program seeks to rescue stranded, technology-related IP with the potential for development into marketable products. Once accepted by the program, the owner/inventor is eligible for a tax deduction equivalent to the fair market value of the IP. The Institute receives the patent licensing fees or revenue from the sale of the IP to businesses, helping us to fund our mission. In turn, businesses are able to advance their markets and create jobs for less money than starting a project from scratch.

Disasters are defined as situations in which needs exceed or overwhelm available resources. Some disasters affect an entire community, while other disasters impact individuals and families. Crises of physical or psychological health can be very personal disasters.
The therapeutic value of pets during illness, trauma, and recovery is well established. And Koi fish may be well suited for people who are not able to provide verbal pet commands or physically care for pets like dogs and cats. Koi ponds are also a source of beauty and peace, providing an ideal setting for quiet reflection or meditation.
We are working to partner with pond installers and aquatic pet rescues/shelters to offer free or reduced-cost ponds with rehomed Koi fish to people seeking this type of pet therapy.

Disasters disrupt life and impact our sense of personal, family, and community safety. Survivors and responders alike often are not aware of the emotional, psychological or spiritual challenges that they may face from disaster onset through recovery. With two decades of experience training responders and communities to prepare for the behavioral health aspects of disasters, we will continue to provide education and a curated list of resources to groups or individuals.

Non-medical factors that impact overall health are termed Social Determinants of Health or SDoH. Noise pollution, poor air quality, and poor water quality are three environmental factors known to have a strong link to overall health. And the same environmental factors that impact humans impact their pets and other animals in their care. We continue to assist in advocacy, education, and technology development to mitigate the impact of SDoH on humans and animals alike.

Our efforts in shelter and rescue are the main focus of our environmental stewardship, reducing the environmental impact of non-native aquatic animals being dumped into public waterways. The High Alert Institute also assists innovators with the design, development, and evaluation of green and renewable energy technologies. Reducing the carbon footprint associated with disaster preparedness, response, and recovery furthers our continued mission to mitigate risk and improve resilience.

We partner with public and private organizations, sharing resources and fostering partnerships to improve disaster preparedness, response, and recovery, and mitigation.

The High Alert Institute team has over a century of combined research experience in medical, nursing, behavioral health, and disaster sciences. Our team provides support to researchers and technology developers through comprehensive literature searches and reviews, as well as failure mode database searches and adjudicated reviews.

When disaster strikes, most aquatic pet owners have limited options to secure the safety of their pets. Sheltering in place may not be possible if there is no power to provide aeration and “pet-friendly” shelters do not include ponds or aquariums. Our goal is to provide an option for aquatic pet owners in need of rescue and shelter for their finned friends.

Our goal is to share our two decades of disaster readiness experience with animal welfare organizations, shelters, caretakers, and pet owners, as they implement contingency  plans for natural and manmade disasters.

Join the Institute
Stay informed and get updates.

*We do NOT share your information with any other sites or organizations.

High Alert Institute

4800 Ben Hill Trail
Lake Wales, FL 33898
Office: 863.696.8090
FAX: 407.434.0804


Privacy Policy

Cookie Policy

Terms of Use


Get Your Data

Shipping Policy

Message Us



Do Not Sell Info

Return Policy