The conversation around healthier buildings often focuses on light and air quality. But noise levels also significantly impact health and wellbeing. In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) updated its Environmental Noise Guidelines for the first time since 1999, stressing that noise has negative impacts on human health and is becoming a growing concern.
A recent survey on hospital acoustics found that 60 percent of patients surveyed complained of sleep disturbance due to noise. A research team in France found that for every 10-dB increase in noise pollution, 8- to 9-year-old students performed 5.5 points lower on their national standardised test. More significantly, approximately 16 600 cases of premature death from noise exposure occur each year in Europe and the annual cost of European noise pollution is estimated to be EUR 40 billion.