Counting the cost of noise pollution
The impact of continuous noise pollution on our health and well-being is well documented. Research by the World Health Organisation found that on average it costs Europe €40 billion every year in terms of lost workdays, healthcare, hospital allocation, decreased productivity and learning challenges.
The same research concluded that long-term exposure to excessive noise was estimated to cause 12,000 premature deaths and contribute to 48,000 new cases of ischaemic heart disease every year.
In addition, 22 million Europeans suffer chronic ‘high annoyance’ ranging from irritation to distress and 6.5 million endure significant sleep disturbance all of which can trigger issues with cardiovascular health, alertness and productivity.
Noise reduces productivity by 66%
In one UK survey, excessive noise in open plan offices was found to reduce productivity by 66%, while in classrooms the average classroom noise level was 72 decibels — almost vacuum cleaner level. How noise has affected us at home during the pandemic has yet to be assessed.