Logo of envhperEnvironmental Health PerspectivesBrowse ArticlesAbout EHPGeneral InformationAuthorsMediaProgramsPartnerships
Environ Health Perspect. 2000 Mar; 108(Suppl 1): 123–131.
PMCID: PMC1637786
Research Article

Noise exposure and public health.


Exposure to noise constitutes a health risk. There is sufficient scientific evidence that noise exposure can induce hearing impairment, hypertension and ischemic heart disease, annoyance, sleep disturbance, and decreased school performance. For other effects such as changes in the immune system and birth defects, the evidence is limited. Most public health impacts of noise were already identified in the 1960s and noise abatement is less of a scientific but primarily a policy problem. A subject for further research is the elucidation of the mechanisms underlying noise-induced cardiovascular disorders and the relationship of noise with annoyance and nonacoustical factors modifying health outcomes. A high priority study subject is the effects of noise on children, including cognitive effects and their reversibility. Noise exposure is on the increase, especially in the general living environment, both in industrialized nations and in developing world regions. This implies that in the twenty-first century noise exposure will still be a major public health problem.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (2.3M), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Images in this article

Click on the image to see a larger version.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Reijneveld SA. The impact of the Amsterdam aircraft disaster on reported annoyance by aircraft noise and on psychiatric disorders. Int J Epidemiol. 1994 Apr;23(2):333–340. [PubMed]
  • Morrell S, Taylor R, Lyle D. A review of health effects of aircraft noise. Aust N Z J Public Health. 1997 Apr;21(2):221–236. [PubMed]
  • Babisch W, Ising H. Zum Einfluss von Musik in Diskotheken auf die Hörfähigkeit. Soz Praventivmed. 1989;34(5):239–242. [PubMed]
  • Pfander F, Bongartz H, Brinkmann H, Kietz H. Danger of auditory impairment from impulse noise: A comparative study of the CHABA damage-risk criteria and those of the Federal Republic of Germany. J Acoust Soc Am. 1980 Feb;67(2):628–633. [PubMed]
  • Ising H, Hanel J, Pilgramm M, Babisch W, Lindthammer A. Gehörschadensrisiko durch Musikhören mit Kopfhörern. HNO. 1994 Dec;42(12):764–768. [PubMed]
  • Axelsson Alf, Prasher Deepak. Tinnitus: A warning signal to teenagers attending discotheques? Noise Health. 1999;1(2):1–2. [PubMed]
  • Miedema HM, Vos H. Exposure-response relationships for transportation noise. J Acoust Soc Am. 1998 Dec;104(6):3432–3445. [PubMed]
  • Guski Rainer. Personal and social variables as co-determinants of noise annoyance. Noise Health. 1999;1(3):45–56. [PubMed]
  • Job RF Soames. Noise sensitivity as a factor influencing human reaction to noise. Noise Health. 1999;1(3):57–68. [PubMed]
  • Stallen Pieter Jan M. A theoretical framework for environmental noise annoyance. Noise Health. 1999;1(3):69–80. [PubMed]
  • van Dijk FJ, Souman AM, de Vries FF. Non-auditory effects of noise in industry. VI. A final field study in industry. Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 1987;59(2):133–145. [PubMed]
  • Knipschild P. V. Medical effects of aircraft noise: community cardiovascular survey. Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 1977 Nov 29;40(3):185–190. [PubMed]
  • Xu X, Niu T, Christiani DC, Weiss ST, Zhou Y, Chen C, Yang J, Fang Z, Jiang Z, Liang W, et al. Environmental and occupational determinants of blood pressure in rural communities in China. Ann Epidemiol. 1997 Feb;7(2):95–106. [PubMed]
  • Ising H, Babisch W, Kruppa B, Lindthammer A, Wiens D. Subjective work noise: a major risk factor in myocardial infarction. Soz Praventivmed. 1997;42(4):216–222. [PubMed]
  • Melamed S, Froom P, Kristal-Boneh E, Gofer D, Ribak J. Industrial noise exposure, noise annoyance, and serum lipid levels in blue-collar workers--the CORDIS Study. Arch Environ Health. 1997 Jul-Aug;52(4):292–298. [PubMed]
  • Tomei F, Papaleo B, Baccolo TP, Tomao E, Alfi P, Fantini S. Esposizione cronica a rumore e apparato cardiovascolare in piloti di aeromobili. Med Lav. 1996 Sep-Oct;87(5):394–410. [PubMed]
  • Babisch W, Ising H, Elwood PC, Sharp DS, Bainton D. Traffic noise and cardiovascular risk: the Caerphilly and Speedwell studies, second phase. Risk estimation, prevalence, and incidence of ischemic heart disease. Arch Environ Health. 1993 Nov-Dec;48(6):406–413. [PubMed]
  • Babisch W, Gallacher JE, Elwood PC, Ising H. Traffic noise and cardiovascular risk. The Caerphilly study, first phase. Outdoor noise levels and risk factors. Arch Environ Health. 1988 Nov-Dec;43(6):407–414. [PubMed]
  • Melamed S, Bruhis S. The effects of chronic industrial noise exposure on urinary cortisol, fatigue and irritability: a controlled field experiment. J Occup Environ Med. 1996 Mar;38(3):252–256. [PubMed]
  • Sudo A, Nguyen AL, Jonai H, Matsuda S, Villanueva MB, Sotoyama M, Nguyen TC, Le VT, Hoang MH, Nguyen DT, et al. Effects of earplugs on catecholamine and cortisol excretion in noise-exposed textile workers. Ind Health. 1996;34(3):279–286. [PubMed]
  • Cohen S, Evans GW, Krantz DS, Stokols D. Physiological, motivational, and cognitive effects of aircraft noise on children: moving from the laboratory to the field. Am Psychol. 1980 Mar;35(3):231–243. [PubMed]
  • Karsdorf G, Klappach H. Einflüsse des Verkehrslärms auf Gesundheit und Leistung bei Oberschülern einer Grossstadt. Z Gesamte Hyg. 1968 Jan;14(1):52–54. [PubMed]
  • Regecová V, Kellerová E. Effects of urban noise pollution on blood pressure and heart rate in preschool children. J Hypertens. 1995 Apr;13(4):405–412. [PubMed]
  • Wu TN, Chen LJ, Lai JS, Ko GN, Shen CY, Chang PY. Prospective study of noise exposure during pregnancy on birth weight. Am J Epidemiol. 1996 Apr 15;143(8):792–796. [PubMed]
  • Melamed S, Luz J, Green MS. Noise exposure, noise annoyance and their relation to psychological distress, accident and sickness absence among blue-collar workers--the Cordis Study. Isr J Med Sci. 1992 Aug-Sep;28(8-9):629–635. [PubMed]
  • Barreto SM, Swerdlow AJ, Smith PG, Higgins CD. A nested case-control study of fatal work related injuries among Brazilian steel workers. Occup Environ Med. 1997 Aug;54(8):599–604. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from Environmental Health Perspectives are provided here courtesy of National Institute of Environmental Health Science


Save items

Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


  • Cited in Books
    Cited in Books
    NCBI Bookshelf books that cite the current articles.
  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...