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close this bookFact sheet No 258: Occupational and Community Noise - February 2001 (WHO, 2001, 5 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentHealth impact
View the documentSound and the ear
View the documentCommunity noise
View the documentOccupational noise
View the documentOccupational exposure limits
View the documentWHO response

(introduction...)

February 2001

The hubbub of the city - the phrase conveys the excitement, the hustle and bustle of urban life, the throng of crowds and traffic, traders, shoppers, rowdy diversion and entertainment. In ancient Rome the clatter of iron wheels of wagons on the stone pavements disturbed the sleep and so annoyed citizens that legislation was enacted to control movement. Some cities of mediaeval Europe prohibited horse and carriage traffic to protect the sleep of the inhabitants.

The noise problems of the past are incomparable with those plaguing modern society: the roar of aircraft, the thunder of heavily laden lorries and the thumps and whines of industry provide a noisy background to our lives. But such noise can be not only annoying but also damaging to the health, and is increasing with economic development.