Noise Pollution

Jacob Sparkman
Course: Data Visualization with Lucy HG Solomon
Topic:  Noise Pollution

For my final, I ended up having my idea change during the research process. I first started by researching animal communications after learning in class about the bee wiggle dance. I went online, looking through various articles and sites about animal communication, from bird chirping to sharks gaping. Throughout my research online it seemed that the predominant factor that I found was about noise pollution and how it affected various animals, and upon realization I changed over to study that instead.

What I found was surprising, there were a lot of animals that were affected. There were species of birds that would leave high noise areas and move to new homes, or even some bird species that would adapt to the noise and wait until breaks or quiet periods of noise to resume communication, similar to how we humans either leave noisy areas or pause talking when there is a lot of noise nearby. I also found that it was messing with the sonar of bats and dolphins, as well as affecting the sense of balance in octopuses and squids which messed with their ability to hunt.

My overall research concluded that the noise pollution was harming the lives of animals more than I had thought, there were issues of inability to hunt or find food, not being able to communicate which affected things like being able to find a mate, or causing animals to change their habitat to one that is less noisy which results in less species diversity near those high noise areas. All in all it was eye opening for me, noise pollution was never really something that I thought of as in the way because I normally tune it out during my daily life.

When I came to that realization, I wondered if that was just the case with me or if it was the case with others like my classmates and professor. I wanted to make something that would emulate the noise that we normally tune out and require the noise to be listened and paid attention to. The meat of my process was just playing with the different audio elements that I had, making sure it sounded natural, and making sure that it was annoying just like the real thing. I adjusted audio levels, layered multiple sounds on top of each other, and kept working on it until I myself was bothered by it because that’s when I knew it would be ready.

My goal was to have it spawn a conversation about the topic and get more feedback from students which worked out in my favor. It turned out that the majority if not all of you also tune out the noise that you hear in your daily lives and even had some stories about how the noise affects you. I was really pleased with how the project came out and would like to continue looking into this subject.