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From the WHO Guidelines for community noise to healthy soundscapes.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2006 (English)In: Proceedings of the Institute of Acoustics, 2006., 2006, 1-9 p.Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Community noise destroys environments which otherwise could have been quiet and restorative, such as court yards, gardens, parks and other green urban and suburban areas. Wide gaps exist between current sound levels and those adopted in the WHO guidelines for community noise. A wide gap also exists between current long-term goals and the goals that would constitute good sound environments. Thus far, community-noise pollution has in principle been viewed as a pure engineering problem, not a health problem. The objective of the WHO guidelines and the EC environmental noise directive, is to protect people from the harmful effects of noise. Both also recommend education and information as noise management measures, besides the legal and engineering measures. However, in practice there is an inbuilt conflict which abuses the health goals. WHO guideline values are based on different critical health effects which are linked to the “all-noise” immission in specific environments and sensitive time periods for sensitive groups during specific activities. In contrast, noise maps and remedial actions against noise are concerned with sound levels of a specific noise source. It is not enough to protect and prevent against the predominating noise. The way forward is to promote and support the development of healthy soundscapes. One goal of long-term city planning must be to provide soundscapes supportive to health.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. 1-9 p.
Keyword [en]
community noise, soundscape, WHO
National Category
Psychology Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-21280OAI: diva2:187806
Available from: 2007-12-07 Created: 2007-12-07Bibliographically approved

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