Assesing noise exposure in BiSC

At BiSC, in addition to exposure to air pollution during pregnancy, we also study exposure to noise, as together they are the main environmental pollutants in cities and those that most affect health in Europe. Noise is an unwanted sound, and traffic is its most common source.

And how do we measure noise exposure? During the visit to the participants’ home during the first trimester of pregnancy, we installed a small sound level meter on one or two facades of the house. For a week, the sound level microphone records the noise level. This device only records the amount of noise, that is, the decibels.

Image of the installation of the sound level meter on the facade of the building.

Image of the sound level meter used: NSRT Mk2® Type 1.

After a week, we collect the sound level meter, record if there were any problems during the measurement and download the data. Later we do an intensive, visual and statistical analysis, which lets us know if the measurement is correct. From here, we will get to know the usual exposure to noise from the participants. Subsequently, the participants receive the results of the noise measurement, with the evolution of the levels during the day and at night throughout the week of measurement.

Finally, during the third trimester, some homes can measure the insulation of their facades to determine the level of noise coming inside. To do this, we make a short and simultaneous measurement inside and outside the home.

All this is possible only thanks to the collaboration of the BiSC project participants. Thank you all!

The text has been written by Maria Foraster Pulido, a researcher from the BiSC project.