Adverse Health Effects of Environmental Noise

Introduction: Environmental or community noise or the noise of a residential area is defined as the noise which is emitted by all the available sources. The term environmental noise does not include the noise in the internal environment of work, that to which the worker is subjected in the workplace. The main sources of environmental noise include road, railway and air transport, industry, building and public works, but also the proximity of other persons. Typical noises in the suburbs originate in residences and installations related to commercial catering (restaurants, coffee shops, clubs, etc.), and from live music, sports activities, children’s playgrounds and car parks, and also from domestic animals. The main sources of internal noise are related to ventilation and air conditioning systems, office machinery, domestic appliances and the neighbours. Aim: Definition of the magnitude of the consequences of environmental noise for human health, through annotated bibliography. Method: Bibliography review using the electronic databases PubMed, Medline, Google Scholar. The key words used were “environmental noise”, “community noise”, “adverse health effects”. Studies were reviewed that had been conducted in Europe and the US and published in the English language during the period 1999-2014. Results: The extent of the problem of environmental noise is enormous. In the European Union (EU) roughly 40% of the population is exposed to road traffic noise at a level exceeding 55 decibels (dB) during the daytime, and 20% of the population to levels exceeding 65 dB. If all noise from transport is taken into account, roughly half of EU citizens live in regions that do not ensure acoustic comfort for their residents. The following specific health effects that may result from environmental noise have been documented: disturbance in communication, reaction to nuisance, sleep disorders, effects in the cardiovascular and other systems, effects on performance, productivity and social behaviour and acoustic damage. Conclusions: The increase of environmental noise pollution is dangerous, because not only does it involve immediate and cumulative consequences for individual health, but it also affects future generations by degrading the residential, social and learning environment, with consequent economic damage.

Category: Volume 53, N 3
Hits: 27 Hits
Created Date: 15-09-2014
Authors: Vasiliki Zoi , Theofilos Papanastasiou