Definition of environmental noise

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines environmental noise as noise from all sources with the exception of workplace noise. Noise is all unwanted sound or set of sounds that causes annoyance or can have a health impact. WHO recognizes that noise pollution is an increasing problem. Environmental noise includes noises produced by:

  • Transport
    • Road vehicles
    • Trains
    • Airplanes
    • Ships
  • Industrial activities
  • Construction sites
  • Public works and services
  • Cultural, sporting and leisure activities
    • Music from clubs, concerts and festivals
    • Firearms including those for hunting
    • Recreational vehicles such as motorcycles, snowmobiles, etc.
  • Neighbourhood
    • Outdoor
      • Heat pumps
      • Motorized gardening equipment, etc.
    • Indoor
      • Parties
      • Music
      • Noisy house appliances such as vacuum cleaners, etc.

Environmental noise is a common problem. It poses a risk to people’s health and quality of life because it can lead to:

There are many ways of preventing the effects of environmental noise on health. To learn more, read Preventing the effects of environmental noise on health.

Last update: June 16, 2022


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