Residents who live on busy streets, near railways or under a flight path are a greater risk of a range of health problems, a report prepared by the World Health Organisation has revealed.
Heart disease, tinnitus, sleep disruption and cognitive impairment in children were all flagged as potential health risks posed by living with an unacceptable level of noise.
Depending on the type of noise, different levels were considered acceptable by the researchers.
For road traffic, anything above 53 decibels was considered a risk during the day, and 45 dB at night. For railways it was 54 dB and 44 dB for day and night respectively and 45 dB and 40 dB for aircraft noise.
University of Western Australia Bioacoustics researcher Shane Chambers said the effect of ambient noise on health was well known among experts, but residents living with noise could be unaware of how loud their environment is or the risks associated.
“It’s hard to know the noise level, even the background noise level, short of putting your own microphone out there,” he said. “There is very little information available.
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