Noise Safety and Evolutionary Change: The Impact of Noise on Animals of All Kinds

We care about noise in the lab environment as well as the broader environment, so we periodically post information we’ve gleaned about noise impacting the human animal. But in this post, our focus is the rest of the animal population. While few of them may end up in your lab, the impact of noise on wild life is illuminating, to say the least, and understanding how noise impacts all animals certainly can increase noise-safety awareness in your lab.

Noise Is Everywhere

Most of us would like to live and work in quiet places. Many of us also seek quiet places for rest and relaxation. Unfortunately, recent research on US National Parks proves that avoiding invasive, disturbing noise is increasingly impossible. While background noise in these national parks is relatively low when compared with US cities, it is disturbingly and “remarkably” high by wilderness criteria.

Furthermore, a large percentage of the noise pollution in national parks enters from outside it, which means that the National Park Service and the animals have no control over increasing noise.

The Impact of Noise on Animals

Researchers are conducting multiple studies on how noise impacts animals across the globe. Some impacts are severe and straightforward, such as powerful arrays of air guns tied to underwater military sonar and used to map the seafloor that unintentionally strand whales, dolphins, and porpoises. Other impacts are less obvious, such as robins changing the timing of their songs to catch a quieter time of day, or urban great tits changing the frequency of their calls to avoid being drowned out by lower-toned, human-generated noise.

Some animals have actually found ways to use all the noise to their advantage. Hummingbirds and house finches now select nesting sites in noisy areas near active gas wells because noise-sensitive avian predators avoid these areas. On the other hand, increased road noise disturbs prairie dogs: They spend more time keeping watch, which leaves them less time foraging food; the species’ long-term health and wellness could decline.

Noise Safety for Animals and Humans in Your Lab

While wild animals may not be residing in your lab, you do have human animals working there. The findings above demonstrate how any animal that is exposed to noise can suffer effects. This includes noise in the lab environment. As we’ve discussed before, noise safety is key to an efficient, productive lab environment. Noise can cause people to tune out or mishear critical lab-safety conversations. Noise can raise the stress level, resulting in cardiovascular disease. Noise can cause annoyance and impair cognitive performance.

This is why reducing noise should be a primary consideration in any lab. It’s also a reason why our dedicated lab furniture offers noise-reduction features. The state-of-the-art IonBench MS isolates the mass-spec vacuum pumps that can contribute so much noise to the lab environment. We keep manufacturing more dedicated lab furniture because more and more labs are prioritizing noise safety and are taking steps to ensure a quiet, safe lab environment.

To learn more about how our IonBenches can improve noise safety for the human animals in your lab, contact Tim Hawkins at tim.hawkins@farhawk.com or 1-888-669-1233.