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Understanding the Effects of Noise: IELTS Reading Passage with Questions & Answers

Updated on 21 November, 2023

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team


Noise pollution is an increasingly prevalent issue in today’s fast-paced world, impacting not just environmental harmony but also human health and behavior. This IELTS reading passage delves into the varied effects of noise on individuals and societies. Understanding these impacts can help IELTS learners prepare for questions on environmental topics and improve their reading comprehension skills.


The omnipresence of noise in modern life is more than a mere annoyance; it has emerged as a significant threat to public health. According to the World Health Organization, prolonged exposure to noise pollution can lead to a myriad of health issues, including stress-related illnesses, sleep disturbance, hearing loss, and even cardiovascular diseases.

In urban environments, traffic is the most common source of noise, with the constant hum of vehicles creating a background soundtrack to city life. Industrial noise, although more localized, can also have far-reaching consequences for nearby residents. Even in rural areas, the tranquility of the natural world is increasingly punctured by the sounds of machinery and agricultural equipment.

Beyond the physical health implications, noise pollution also affects cognitive function and psychological well-being. Studies have shown that children in noisy classrooms are more likely to exhibit decreased motivation and increased error rates in their work. Adults working in noisy environments report higher levels of stress and decreased productivity.

The ecological effects of noise are equally troubling. Wildlife, particularly avian species, can experience disruptions in their communication, which is crucial for mating rituals and territory establishment. In marine environments, noise pollution from ships and sonar has been linked to altered migration patterns and even the stranding of cetaceans.

Efforts to mitigate the impact of noise are as varied as the sources themselves. They range from policy initiatives, like urban sound planning and noise regulation, to individual strategies, such as the use of soundproofing materials and the promotion of ‘quiet’ recreational spaces. The success of these measures, however, depends on a collective acknowledgment of the issue and a concerted effort to address it.

Questions & Answers with Explanations:

Q1. What is identified as the primary source of noise in urban environments?

A. Industrial machinery

B. Traffic

C. Agricultural equipment

D. Wildlife

A1. B. Traffic

Explanation: The passage explicitly states that traffic is the most common source of noise in urban settings, providing the constant background soundtrack to city life.

Q2. Fill in the blank: Prolonged exposure to noise pollution can lead to _______.

A. Increased concentration

B. Sleep disturbance

C. Better cardiovascular health

D. Improved cognitive function

A2. B. Sleep disturbance

Explanation: The passage mentions sleep disturbance as one of the health issues caused by prolonged exposure to noise pollution, along with stress-related illnesses and hearing loss.

Q3. True or False: Noise pollution has no significant impact on wildlife.

A3. False

Explanation: The passage clearly states that wildlife, especially birds and marine life, can have their communication, migration patterns, and behaviors disrupted due to noise pollution.

Q4. Multiple-choice: Which group is more likely to show decreased motivation due to noise?

A. Elderly individuals in retirement homes

B. Children in noisy classrooms

C. Tourists in busy cities

D. Farmers in rural areas

A4. B. Children in noisy classrooms

Explanation: The passage specifies that children in noisy classrooms can exhibit decreased motivation, linking noise pollution directly to educational environments.

Q5. Fill in the blank: Noise pollution in marine environments can alter _______ patterns.

A. Eating

B. Migration

C. Sleeping

D. Breeding

A5. B. Migration

Explanation: According to the passage, noise pollution in the ocean has been linked to changes in the migration patterns of marine animals.

Q6. True or False: Adults working in noisy environments typically report a boost in productivity.

A6. False

Explanation: The passage indicates that adults working in noisy environments experience higher stress levels and reduced productivity, not an increase.

Q7. Multiple-choice: What is a proposed measure to mitigate noise pollution?

A. Increasing traffic flow

B. Promoting ‘quiet’ recreational spaces

C. Reducing wildlife populations

D. Encouraging industrial growth

A7. B. Promoting ‘quiet’ recreational spaces

Explanation: The passage suggests the promotion of ‘quiet’ recreational spaces as one of the strategies to mitigate the impact of noise pollution.

Q8. Fill in the blank: Soundproofing materials are used as an individual strategy to _______ noise pollution.

A. Increase

B. Reflect

C. Absorb

D. Ignore

A8. C. Absorb

Explanation: Soundproofing materials are designed to absorb sound and are mentioned in the passage as a method for individuals to manage noise pollution.

Q9. True or False: Policy initiatives have little role in managing noise pollution.

A9. False

Explanation: The passage discusses policy initiatives such as urban sound planning and noise regulation as important efforts to combat noise pollution.

Q10. Multiple-choice: What is NOT a health issue mentioned in the passage as a consequence of noise pollution?

A. Hearing loss

B. Cardiovascular diseases

C. Improved respiratory function

D. Stress-related illnesses

A10. C. Improved respiratory function

Explanation: Improved respiratory function is not listed among the health issues caused by noise pollution in the passage; rather, it mentions negative impacts like hearing loss and cardiovascular diseases.

IELTS Reading Exam Tips:

Tip 1: Always look for keywords in the questions that will guide you to the relevant part of the passage for the answer.

Tip 2: Practice skimming and scanning techniques to quickly locate information without reading every word.

Tip 3: For true/false questions, remember that the information must be explicitly stated in the passage for the statement to be true.

Tip 4: When answering fill-in-the-blank questions, pay attention to the context around the blank to ensure the word you choose fits grammatically and logically.

Tip 5: Don’t let tricky wording confuse you in multiple-choice questions. Eliminate options that you are sure are incorrect, and then consider what remains carefully.

Remember, the IELTS reading test measures your reading comprehension, including the ability to understand the main ideas, details, inferences, and implied meanings within a passage. By combining these strategies with practice, you can approach your IELTS reading test with confidence.

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

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