The World Health Organization (WHO), which is part of the United Nations (UN), aims to bring the world's people to the highest level of health, health being defined in the document having formalized its constitution as a "state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely an absence of disease or infirmity".
As such, noise is of course a subject of WHO's work because of the risks incurred in terms of health for the populations who are exposed to it on many occasions, in relation to the activities of daily life: it is true with disparities, particularly geographical ones, e.g. in relation to the level of population and economic development of the various regions of the world.
If we reject the idea that we should go into exile in a desert to escape the nuisance caused by noise (how many such places on the planet could then be sustainably preserved while offering a quality of life - daily, economic, cultural - in line with the atavisms of the human species ?), we must admit the usefulness - even the necessity - of looking further into the question of the origin of unnatural sound emissions (it is not a question, then, to study the sound of the wind, waterfalls, volcanoes and even less the song of birds or whales but of what is a consequence of human activity), and the possible modalities for their control i.e. for the maintaining of ambient sound levels at ecologically acceptable thresholds.
The World Health Organization (WHO) communicates environmental noise guidelines.
The environmental noise guidelines for the European Region communicated by the WHO aim at providing recommendations for the protection of human health from exposure to environmental noise due to various sources: transportation (road traffic, railway and aircraft) noise, wind turbine noise and leisure noise (e.g. nightclubs, pubs, fitness classes, live sporting events, concerts or live music venues and listening to loud music through personal listening devices).
Based on the formulation of key questions related to noise exposure of populations, on the review of relevant literature regarding works on health aspects relating to noise, the guidelines reports on a selection of priority health oucome measures in relation to scientific evidences review (including cardiovascular and metabolic effects; annoyance; effects on sleep; cognitive impairment; hearing impairment and tinnitus; adverse birth outcomes; and quality of life, mental health and well-being) and to noise indicators carefully selected (among them Lden Day-evening-night-weighted sound pressure level and Lnight Equivalent continuous sound pressure level when the reference time interval is the night).
One can hope that such a well prepared document on which a consensus was obtained by 53 countries will contribute to the global movement towards the prevention of noise of which the related negative effects are each day more visible.
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