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Scientifica
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 892105, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/892105
Research Article

Night-Time Decibel Hell: Mapping Noise Exposure Zones and Individual Annoyance Ratings in an Urban Environment in Ghana

1Institute for Environment and Sanitation Studies, University of Ghana, Legon, Accra, Ghana
2Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana
3Centre for Social Policy Studies, University of Ghana, Legon, Accra, Ghana

Received 26 January 2014; Revised 10 June 2014; Accepted 17 June 2014; Published 17 July 2014

Academic Editor: Guang-Di Chen

Copyright © 2014 Rachel N. Zakpala et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Although accumulating evidence over the past thirty years indicates that noise is an environmental stressor in residential settings, much of the data emanated from studies in high-intensity, noise impact zones around airports or major roads. Little is known about religious noise, especially at night, which is increasingly a growing concern for both the general public and policy-makers in sub-Saharan Africa. Using geographical information systems (GIS), this study measured and mapped exposure to religious noise in a rapidly urbanising municipality in Ghana. Quantitative noise risk assessment was used to evaluate the risk of religious noise-induced hearing loss to residents in the exposed neighbourhoods. The results show that all neighbourhoods where churches were situated had at least one location with significant risk of noise-induced hearing loss. However, there was no statistically significant relationship between neighbourhoods where religious noise exposure was the highest and where noise annoyance was the highest. The magnitude of the noise values for night-time exposure is remarkable particularly given that excessive night-time noise exposure has the greatest detrimental effect on public health. There is the need to focus on vulnerable groups, sensitive hours of the night, and possible confounding with air pollution in order to wholly address this potential hazard.