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Special Issue "WHO Noise and Health Evidence Reviews"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2017)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Peter Lercher

Division of Social Medicine, Medical University Innsbruck, Sonnenburgstraße 16, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria
Website | E-Mail
Fax: +43 0512 9003 73251
Interests: environmental and social epidemiology; environmental health impact assessment; noise/vibration and air pollution; combined effects; quality of life
Guest Editor
Dr. Gunn-Marit Aasvang

Department of Air Pollution and Noise, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, P.O. Box 4404, Nydalen, N-0403 Oslo, Norway
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Guest Editor
Dr. Yvonne de Kluizenaar

The Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), Location the Hague-New Babylon, Anna van Buerenplein 1, P.O. Box 96800, 2509 JE The Hague (Den Haag), The Netherlands
E-Mail

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue is part of the process of the World Health Organization (WHO) noise guideline update of 2014–2017. In this issue, the evidence reviews related to the specific "critical" and “important” health endpoints, chosen by the guideline development group (GDG), will be published after WHO has given permission.

As pointed out in the Handbook for Guideline Development (WHO 2014), the evidence reviews will follow the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) guidelines (http://www.gradeworkinggroup.org/) to assess the quality of the available evidence for the chosen health endpoints. The papers are subjected to a double review process: First, two or three external experts will review the papers and make recommendations. In parallel, the WHO-GDG members will review the papers and provide additional feedback to the authors.

Prof. Dr. Peter Lercher
Dr. Yvonne de Kluizenaar
Dr. Gunn-Marit Aasvang
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

 

Keywords

  • noise
  • annoyance
  • cognition
  • health related quality of life
  • mental health
  • child development
  • CVD

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Open AccessReview WHO Environmental Noise Guidelines for the European Region: A Systematic Review on Environmental Noise and Quality of Life, Wellbeing and Mental Health
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(11), 2400; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15112400
Received: 18 August 2017 / Accepted: 8 October 2018 / Published: 29 October 2018
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Abstract
This systematic review assesses the quality of the evidence across studies on the effect of environmental noise (road traffic noise, aircraft noise, railway noise, wind-turbine noise) on quality of life, wellbeing and mental health. Quantitative studies of noise effects on children and adults
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This systematic review assesses the quality of the evidence across studies on the effect of environmental noise (road traffic noise, aircraft noise, railway noise, wind-turbine noise) on quality of life, wellbeing and mental health. Quantitative studies of noise effects on children and adults published from January 2005 up to October 2015 were reviewed. A total of 29 papers were identified. 90% of the papers were of cross-sectional design, with fewer studies of longitudinal or intervention design. Outcomes included depression and anxiety, medication use and childhood emotional problems. The quality of the evidence across the studies for each individual noise source was assessed using an adaptation of the GRADE methodology. Overall, given the predominance of cross-sectional studies, most evidence was rated as very low quality, with evidence of effects only being observed for some noise sources and outcomes. These ratings reflect inconsistent findings across studies, the small number of studies and a lack of methodological robustness within some domains. Overall, there are few studies of clinically significant mental health outcomes; few studies of railway noise exposure; and studies of large samples are needed. The lack of evidence for noise effects across studies for many of the quality of life, wellbeing and mental health domains examined does not necessarily mean that there are no effects: rather, that they have not yet been studied robustly for different noise sources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue WHO Noise and Health Evidence Reviews)
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Open AccessReview WHO Environmental Noise Guidelines for the European Region: A Systematic Review on Environmental Noise and Effects on Sleep
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(3), 519; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15030519
Received: 6 November 2017 / Revised: 6 February 2018 / Accepted: 2 March 2018 / Published: 14 March 2018
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (8224 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
To evaluate the quality of available evidence on the effects of environmental noise exposure on sleep a systematic review was conducted. The databases PSYCINFO, PubMed, Science Direct, Scopus, Web of Science and the TNO Repository were searched for non-laboratory studies on the effects
[...] Read more.
To evaluate the quality of available evidence on the effects of environmental noise exposure on sleep a systematic review was conducted. The databases PSYCINFO, PubMed, Science Direct, Scopus, Web of Science and the TNO Repository were searched for non-laboratory studies on the effects of environmental noise on sleep with measured or predicted noise levels and published in or after the year 2000. The quality of the evidence was assessed using GRADE criteria. Seventy four studies predominately conducted between 2000 and 2015 were included in the review. A meta-analysis of surveys linking road, rail, and aircraft noise exposure to self-reports of sleep disturbance was conducted. The odds ratio for the percent highly sleep disturbed for a 10 dB increase in Lnight was significant for aircraft (1.94; 95% CI 1.61–2.3), road (2.13; 95% CI 1.82–2.48), and rail (3.06; 95% CI 2.38–3.93) noise when the question referred to noise, but non-significant for aircraft (1.17; 95% CI 0.54–2.53), road (1.09; 95% CI 0.94–1.27), and rail (1.27; 95% CI 0.89–1.81) noise when the question did not refer to noise. A pooled analysis of polysomnographic studies on the acute effects of transportation noise on sleep was also conducted and the unadjusted odds ratio for the probability of awakening for a 10 dBA increase in the indoor Lmax was significant for aircraft (1.35; 95% CI 1.22–1.50), road (1.36; 95% CI 1.19–1.55), and rail (1.35; 95% CI 1.21–1.52) noise. Due to a limited number of studies and the use of different outcome measures, a narrative review only was conducted for motility, cardiac and blood pressure outcomes, and for children’s sleep. The effect of wind turbine and hospital noise on sleep was also assessed. Based on the available evidence, transportation noise affects objectively measured sleep physiology and subjectively assessed sleep disturbance in adults. For other outcome measures and noise sources the examined evidence was conflicting or only emerging. According to GRADE criteria, the quality of the evidence was moderate for cortical awakenings and self-reported sleep disturbance (for questions that referred to noise) induced by traffic noise, low for motility measures of traffic noise induced sleep disturbance, and very low for all other noise sources and investigated sleep outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue WHO Noise and Health Evidence Reviews)
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Open AccessReview WHO Environmental Noise Guidelines for the European Region: A Systematic Review on Environmental Noise and Cardiovascular and Metabolic Effects: A Summary
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(2), 379; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15020379
Received: 19 October 2017 / Revised: 2 February 2018 / Accepted: 10 February 2018 / Published: 22 February 2018
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (517 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
To update the current state of evidence and assess its quality, we conducted a systematic review on the effects of environmental noise exposure on the cardio-metabolic systems as input for the new WHO environmental noise guidelines for the European Region. We identified 600
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To update the current state of evidence and assess its quality, we conducted a systematic review on the effects of environmental noise exposure on the cardio-metabolic systems as input for the new WHO environmental noise guidelines for the European Region. We identified 600 references relating to studies on effects of noise from road, rail and air traffic, and wind turbines on the cardio-metabolic system, published between January 2000 and August 2015. Only 61 studies, investigating different end points, included information enabling estimation of exposure response relationships. These studies were used for meta-analyses, and assessments of the quality of evidence using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE). A majority of the studies concerned traffic noise and hypertension, but most were cross-sectional and suffering from a high risk of bias. The most comprehensive evidence was available for road traffic noise and Ischeamic Heart Diseases (IHD). Combining the results of 7 longitudinal studies revealed a Relative Risk (RR) of 1.08 (95% CI: 1.01–1.15) per 10 dB (LDEN) for the association between road traffic noise and the incidence of IHD. We rated the quality of this evidence as high. Only a few studies reported on the association between transportation noise and stroke, diabetes, and/or obesity. The quality of evidence for these associations was rated from moderate to very low, depending on transportation noise source and outcome. For a comprehensive assessment of the impact of noise exposure on the cardiovascular and metabolic system, we need more and better quality evidence, primarily based on longitudinal studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue WHO Noise and Health Evidence Reviews)
Open AccessReview WHO Environmental Noise Guidelines for the European Region: A Systematic Review on Environmental Noise and Cognition
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(2), 285; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15020285
Received: 16 August 2017 / Revised: 27 November 2017 / Accepted: 31 January 2018 / Published: 7 February 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (522 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
This systematic review assesses the quality of the evidence across individual studies on the effect of environmental noise (road traffic, aircraft, and train and railway noise) on cognition. Quantitative non-experimental studies of the association between environmental noise exposure on child and adult cognitive
[...] Read more.
This systematic review assesses the quality of the evidence across individual studies on the effect of environmental noise (road traffic, aircraft, and train and railway noise) on cognition. Quantitative non-experimental studies of the association between environmental noise exposure on child and adult cognitive performance published up to June 2015 were reviewed: no limit was placed on the start date for the search. A total of 34 papers were identified, all of which were of child populations. 82% of the papers were of cross-sectional design, with fewer studies of longitudinal or intervention design. A range of cognitive outcomes were examined. The quality of the evidence across the studies for each individual noise source and cognitive outcome was assessed using an adaptation of GRADE methodology. This review found, given the predominance of cross-sectional studies, that the quality of the evidence across studies ranged from being of moderate quality for an effect for some outcomes, e.g., aircraft noise effects on reading comprehension and on long-term memory, to no effect for other outcomes such as attention and executive function and for some noise sources such as road traffic noise and railway noise. The GRADE evaluation of low quality evidence across studies for some cognitive domains and for some noise sources does not necessarily mean that there are no effects: rather, that more robust and a greater number of studies are required. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue WHO Noise and Health Evidence Reviews)
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Open AccessReview WHO Environmental Noise Guidelines for the European Region: A Systematic Review on Environmental Noise and Annoyance
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1539; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121539
Received: 26 July 2017 / Revised: 28 October 2017 / Accepted: 23 November 2017 / Published: 8 December 2017
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (9698 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Background: This paper describes a systematic review and meta-analyses on effects of environmental noise on annoyance. The noise sources include aircraft, road, and rail transportation noise as well as wind turbines and noise source combinations. Objectives: Update knowledge about effects of environmental
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Background: This paper describes a systematic review and meta-analyses on effects of environmental noise on annoyance. The noise sources include aircraft, road, and rail transportation noise as well as wind turbines and noise source combinations. Objectives: Update knowledge about effects of environmental noise on people living in the vicinity of noise sources. Methods: Eligible were published studies (2000–2014) providing comparable acoustical and social survey data including exposure-response functions between standard indicators of noise exposure and standard annoyance responses. The systematic literature search in 20 data bases resulted in 62 studies, of which 57 were used for quantitative meta-analyses. By means of questionnaires sent to the study authors, additional study data were obtained. Risk of bias was assessed by means of study characteristics for individual studies and by funnel plots to assess the risk of publication bias. Main Results: Tentative exposure-response relations for percent highly annoyed residents (%HA) in relation to noise levels for aircraft, road, rail, wind turbine and noise source combinations are presented as well as meta-analyses of correlations between noise levels and annoyance raw scores, and the OR for increase of %HA with increasing noise levels. Quality of evidence was assessed using the GRADE terminology. The evidence of exposure-response relations between noise levels and %HA is moderate (aircraft and railway) or low (road traffic and wind turbines). The evidence of correlations between noise levels and annoyance raw scores is high (aircraft and railway) or moderate (road traffic and wind turbines). The evidence of ORs representing the %HA increase by a certain noise level increase is moderate (aircraft noise), moderate/high (road and railway traffic), and low (wind turbines). Strengths and Limitations: The strength of the evidence is seen in the large total sample size encompassing the included studies (e.g., 18,947 participants in aircraft noise studies). Main limitations are due to the variance in the definition of noise levels and %HA. Interpretation: The increase of %HA in newer studies of aircraft, road and railway noise at comparable Lden levels of earlier studies point to the necessity of adjusting noise limit recommendations. Funding: The review was funded by WHO Europe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue WHO Noise and Health Evidence Reviews)
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Open AccessReview WHO Environmental Noise Guidelines for the European Region: A Systematic Review on Environmental Noise and Adverse Birth Outcomes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(10), 1252; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14101252
Received: 12 July 2017 / Revised: 15 August 2017 / Accepted: 12 October 2017 / Published: 19 October 2017
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (856 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Introduction: Three recent systematic reviews suggested a relationship between noise exposure and adverse birth outcomes. The aim of this review was to evaluate the evidence for the World Health Organization (WHO) noise guidelines and conduct an updated systematic review of environmental noise, specifically
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Introduction: Three recent systematic reviews suggested a relationship between noise exposure and adverse birth outcomes. The aim of this review was to evaluate the evidence for the World Health Organization (WHO) noise guidelines and conduct an updated systematic review of environmental noise, specifically aircraft and road traffic noise and birth outcomes, such as preterm birth, low birth weight, being small for gestational age and congenital malformations. Materials and methods: We reviewed again all the papers on environmental noise and birth outcomes included in the previous three systematic reviews and conducted a systematic search on noise and birth outcomes to update previous reviews. Web of Science, PubMed and Embase electronic databases were searched for papers published between June 2014 (end date of previous systematic review) and December 2016 using a list of specific search terms. Studies were also screened in the reference list of relevant reviews/articles. Further inclusion and exclusion criteria for the studies provided by the WHO expert group were applied. Risk of bias was assessed according to criteria from the Newcastle-Ottawa quality assessment scale for case-control and cohort studies. Finally, we applied the GRADE principles to our systematic review in a reproducible and appropriate way for judgment about quality of evidence. Results: In total, 14 studies are included in this review, six studies on aircraft noise and birth outcomes, five studies (two with more or less the same population) on road traffic noise and birth outcomes and three related studies on total ambient noise that is likely to be mostly traffic noise that met the criteria. The number of studies on environmental noise and birth outcomes is small and the quality of evidence generally ranges from very low to low, particularly in case of the older studies. The quality is better for the more recent traffic noise and birth outcomes studies. As there were too few studies, we did not conduct meta-analyses. Discussion: This systematic review is supported by previous systematic reviews and meta-analyses that suggested that there may be some suggestive evidence for an association between environmental noise exposure and birth outcomes, although they pointed more generally to a stronger role of occupational noise exposure, which tends to be higher and last longer. Very strict criteria for inclusion and exclusion of studies, performance of quality assessment for risk of bias, and finally applying GRADE principles for judgment of quality of evidence are the strengths of this review. Conclusions: We found evidence of very low quality for associations between aircraft noise and preterm birth, low birth weight and congenital anomalies, and low quality evidence for an association between road traffic noise and low birth weight, preterm birth and small for gestational age. Further high quality studies are required to establish such associations. Future studies are recommended to apply robust exposure assessment methods (e.g., modeled or measured noise levels at bedroom façade), disentangle associations for different sources of noise as well as daytime and nighttime noise, evaluate the impacts of noise evens (that stand out of the noise background), and control the analyses for confounding factors, such as socioeconomic status, lifestyle factors and other environmental factors, especially air pollution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue WHO Noise and Health Evidence Reviews)
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Open AccessReview WHO Environmental Noise Guidelines for the European Region: A Systematic Review on Environmental Noise and Permanent Hearing Loss and Tinnitus
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(10), 1139; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14101139
Received: 31 July 2017 / Revised: 11 September 2017 / Accepted: 20 September 2017 / Published: 27 September 2017
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (480 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Background: Hearing loss is defined as worsening of hearing acuity and is usually expressed as an increase in the hearing threshold. Tinnitus, defined as “ringing in the ear”, is a common and often disturbing accompaniment of hearing loss. Hearing loss and environmental
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Background: Hearing loss is defined as worsening of hearing acuity and is usually expressed as an increase in the hearing threshold. Tinnitus, defined as “ringing in the ear”, is a common and often disturbing accompaniment of hearing loss. Hearing loss and environmental exposures to noise are increasingly recognized health problems. Objectives: The objective was to assess whether the exposure-response relationship can be established between exposures to non-occupational noise and permanent hearing outcomes such as permanent hearing loss and tinnitus. Methods: Information sources: Computer searches of all accessible medical and other databases (PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus) were performed and complemented with manual searches. The search was not limited to a particular time span, except for the effects of personal listening devices (PLDs). The latter was limited to the years 2008–June 2015, since previous knowledge was summarized by SCENIHR descriptive systematic review published in 2008. Study eligibility criteria: The inclusion criteria were as follows: the exposure to noise was measured in sound pressure levels (SPLs) and expressed in individual equivalent decibel values (LEX,8h), the studies included both exposed and reference groups, the outcome was a permanent health effect, i.e., permanent hearing loss assessed with pure-tone audiometry and/or permanent tinnitus assessed with a questionnaire. The eligibility criteria were evaluated by two independent reviewers. Study appraisal and synthesis methods: The risk of bias was assessed for all of the papers using a template for assessment of quality and the risk of bias. The GRADE (grading of recommendations assessment, development, and evaluation) approach was used to assess the overall quality of evidence. Meta-analysis was not possible due to methodological heterogeneity of included studies and the inadequacy of data. Results: Out of 220 references identified, five studies fulfilled the inclusion criteria. All of them were related to the use of PLDs and comprised in total of 1551 teenagers and young adults. Three studies used hearing loss as the outcome and three tinnitus. There was a positive correlation between noise level and hearing loss either at standard or extended high frequencies in all three of the studies on hearing loss. In one study, there was also a positive correlation between the duration of PLD use and hearing loss. There was no association between prolonged listening to loud music through PLDs and tinnitus or the results were contradictory. All of the evidence was of low quality. Limitations: The studies are cross-sectional. No study provides odds ratios of hearing loss by the level of exposure to noise. Conclusions: While using very strict inclusion criteria, there is low quality GRADE evidence that prolonged listening to loud music through PLDs increases the risk of hearing loss and results in worsening standard frequency audiometric thresholds. However, specific threshold analyses focused on stratifying risk according to clearly defined levels of exposure are missing. Future studies are needed to provide actionable guidance for PLDs users. No studies fulfilling the inclusion criteria related to other isolated or combined exposures to environmental noise were identified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue WHO Noise and Health Evidence Reviews)
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Open AccessReview WHO Environmental Noise Guidelines for the European Region: A Systematic Review of Transport Noise Interventions and Their Impacts on Health
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(8), 873; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14080873
Received: 13 April 2017 / Revised: 19 July 2017 / Accepted: 24 July 2017 / Published: 3 August 2017
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (1279 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
This paper describes a systematic review (1980–2014) of evidence on effects of transport noise interventions on human health. The sources are road traffic, railways, and air traffic. Health outcomes include sleep disturbance, annoyance, cognitive impairment of children and cardiovascular diseases. A conceptual framework
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This paper describes a systematic review (1980–2014) of evidence on effects of transport noise interventions on human health. The sources are road traffic, railways, and air traffic. Health outcomes include sleep disturbance, annoyance, cognitive impairment of children and cardiovascular diseases. A conceptual framework to classify noise interventions and health effects was developed. Evidence was thinly spread across source types, outcomes, and intervention types. Further, diverse intervention study designs, methods of analyses, exposure levels, and changes in exposure do not allow a meta-analysis of the association between changes in noise level and health outcomes, and risk of bias in most studies was high. However, 43 individual transport noise intervention studies were examined (33 road traffic; 7 air traffic; 3 rail) as to whether the intervention was associated with a change in health outcome. Results showed that many of the interventions were associated with changes in health outcomes irrespective of the source type, the outcome or intervention type (source, path or infrastructure). For road traffic sources and the annoyance outcome, the expected effect-size can be estimated from an appropriate exposure–response function, though the change in annoyance in most studies was larger than could be expected based on noise level change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue WHO Noise and Health Evidence Reviews)
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Other

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Open AccessProject Report Development of the WHO Environmental Noise Guidelines for the European Region: An Introduction
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(4), 813; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15040813
Received: 12 April 2018 / Revised: 10 April 2018 / Accepted: 18 April 2018 / Published: 20 April 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (322 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Following the Parma Declaration on Environment and Health adopted at the Fifth Ministerial Conference (2010), the Ministers and representatives of Member States in the WHO European Region requested the World Health Organization (WHO) to develop updated guidelines on environmental noise, and called upon
[...] Read more.
Following the Parma Declaration on Environment and Health adopted at the Fifth Ministerial Conference (2010), the Ministers and representatives of Member States in the WHO European Region requested the World Health Organization (WHO) to develop updated guidelines on environmental noise, and called upon all stakeholders to reduce children’s exposure to noise, including that from personal electronic devices. The WHO Environmental Noise Guidelines for the European Region will provide evidence-based policy guidance to Member States on protecting human health from noise originating from transportation (road traffic, railway and aircraft), wind turbine noise, and leisure noise in settings where people spend the majority of their time. Compared to previous WHO guidelines on noise, the most significant developments include: consideration of new evidence associating environmental noise exposure with health outcomes, such as annoyance, cardiovascular effects, obesity and metabolic effects (such as diabetes), cognitive impairment, sleep disturbance, hearing impairment and tinnitus, adverse birth outcomes, quality of life, mental health, and wellbeing; inclusion of new noise sources to reflect the current noise environment; and the use of a standardized framework (grading of recommendations, assessment, development, and evaluations: GRADE) to assess evidence and develop recommendations. The recommendations in the guidelines are underpinned by systematic reviews of evidence on several health outcomes related to environmental noise as well as evidence on interventions to reduce noise exposure and/or health outcomes. The overall body of evidence is published in this Special Issue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue WHO Noise and Health Evidence Reviews)
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