Noise Measurements in Residential Areas in North A’ Sharqiyah Region -Oman

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Noise Measurements in Residential Areas in North A’ Sharqiyah Region -Oman

Mohammed Al Bahri*, Al Maha Al Habsi and, Khalid Al Hashmi
Department of Basic Sciences, A’Sharqiyah University, Post Box 42, PC 400, Ibra, Oman.
*Corresponding author
Received: 25 June 2023; Accepted: 05 July 2023; Published: 03 August 2023

Abstract: Noise pollution has become a serious problem nowadays due to the industrial development and urbanization. Noise level, in particular, is exceeding being an environmental issue to being a health problem for people. This study investigated the noise levels in residential areas, schools and hotels in North A’ Sharqiyah region in Oman. The area covered by the study is around 20 km2 which includes more than 200 houses, 13 schools and nine hotels. Fourteen different zones have been selected within this area to measure the noise levels. Using a sound level meter (S/N:2019023967) with a 30 to 130 dB measuring range and 1.5 dB accuracy, noise levels were measured. Around 90% of the collected data in the housing area at the city center was higher than the Omani standards (60 dB) and with an exposure time of 10 hours per day. In contrast, the housing areas outside the city center, only 5% of the measured noise was higher than the standards. In schools, it was found that the noise inside the schools is higher than the standards of indoor buildings noise. Furthermore, it was observed that the schools were built in quiet locations where the noise outside the schools met the standards. 70 % of the noise that was measured during the morning assembly in schools was higher than the standards. In hotels, it was found that the noise levels depend on the location of the hotel. The hotels located outside the city center or commercial area were found to be quiet and the noise levels within standards. In contrast, the others which locate in the city center have high noise levels.

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Keywords: Sound Noise Level, Sound Level Meter, Decibel (dB)

I. Introduction

Noise pollution is one of the environmental pollutions which is increasing rapidly nowadays. Industrial noise in particular is exceeding being an environmental issue to be a health issue for workers. For example, depression, hypertension, high-stress levels, tinnitus, hearing loss, sleep disturbances, and other harmful effects[1–7]. There are different sources of sound noise, such as road traffics[8–11], industrial areas[12–18], and machines [19–22]. The normal accepted level of sound noise is around 60 dB (decibel), according to the World Health Organization (WHO)[23]. Several studies have investigated noise pollution in urban areas, including in residential areas, schools, universities [24–32] and prayer places like mosques [33]. A.R. Seroji’s measured sound noise in Mina during Hajj Season in 2008, where he performed at four camps distributed at different sites in the Mina area (Beginning of Mina – Middle of Mina – Streets area – Al-Jamarat area). Results show that the measured equivalent noise levels per 8 hours at these four camps were ranging between 64 – 78 dB day and night, which is exceeding the recommended noise levels by WHO [34]. Other studies have covered hotels and other rest places by noise studies[31,32,35,36] and other studies have examined the noise at hospitals and found that the main sources of noise in hospitals are road traffics and cooling machines[37–40].
To the best of our knowledge, there is no scientific studies have been done to determine the level of noise either in industrial areas or in the closest urban area in Oman. Thus, we have been motivated to investigate the noise level in some areas in Oman. Only one scientific study measured the noise level in Muscat city in 1999 done by Al-Harthy and Tamura[41]. Their results revealed that road traffics are the main source of sound noise in Muscat city, which is increasing incredibly nowadays. In addition, they found that the average level of sound noise was (70 dB), which is beyond Omani standards (65 dB)[42].

Due to the shortage of studies on noise pollution in Oman, our team focused on studying noise pollution in certain areas like residential areas, schools and hotels. As urban and industrial areas rapidly expand, noise levels need to be maintained at an acceptable level. A sound noise level that is acceptable for human health should also be determined as well as the main sources of noise. According to our expectation, some residential areas, schools, and hotels in North A’ Sharqiyah region are affected by noise pollution. Testing noise levels help us identify the trends and take action to reduce noise pollution based on the data collected.