Noise Pollution at Home Can Harm Your Health, WHO Finds

According to a recent report from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the problem of environmental noise could be a growing issue for people across Australia. The study suggests that at least one million healthy years of life are lost every year due to traffic-related heavy noise throughout the Western part of Europe.

The study from WHO suggests that everything from cognitive impairment in children, heart disease, tinnitus, and more could be caused by living with an unacceptable level of noise.

Which Noise is the Most Dangerous?

The acceptable noise level required for good health differed depending on the type of noise. The study found that:

  • Anything above 53 decibels was considered a risk for road traffic during the day. During the night, that decibel level reduces to 45 DB
  • Anything above 54 decibels was too high for railway noise during the day, and that number dropped to 44 DB during the night.
  • For aircraft noise, the highest level during the day was 45 DB, and 40 DB for the night.

A researcher from the University of Western Australia, Shane Chambers said that the effects of ambient noise on health have been well-known among experts. However, many residents living with this noise don’t always know how loud their environment is. It’s tough to know for certain how dangerous any level of noise might be, and even smartphone apps designed to measure noise aren’t always accurate.

Taking Steps to Address the Noise Problem

Currently, the Queensland government are providing some residents with “noise level” maps that are designed to help them track the noisiest areas in various cities. However, until this solution is available nationwide, there’s always the option to contact the Australian Acoustical society and have your noise level measured by professionals. If your noise levels rise above recommendations, it may be worth soundproofing your home or apartment with things like double glazing.

The right treatment can transform your quality of life in a certain house. Having airtight windows and doors is also helpful, particularly in noisy environments where truck routes are common. According to Samantha McArthur, president of the Maribyrnon Truck Action Group has taken a different approach by requesting a night-time and weekend curfew on outdoor noise to give people a respite. The inner western part of Melbourne in Maribyrnong is often over-run by trucks travelling between ports and on the highway. According to Resident society president Andrew Woodhouse, groups have already campaigned to limit the noise in this area.

One of the biggest problems of a noisy home environment is the impact it can have on sleep. When people can’t get the rest they need, their mental health begins to suffer. Research shows that human beings need at least eight hours of sleep each night to function at their best.

In reality, when homeowners can’t just move to an apartment in a quieter area or invest a lot of money into double glazing, there may need to be more community groups looking into alternative options to stop noise pollution.

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