Sleep is an essential part of healthy life and is recognized as a fundamental right under the European Convention on Human Rights 1 (European Court of Human Rights, 2003).
Based on the systematic review of evidence produced by epidemiological and experimental studies, the relationship between night noise exposure and health effects can be summarized as below.
|Average night noise level Health effects observed in the population over a year Lnight,outside||Health effects observed in the population|
|Up to 30 dB||Although individual sensitivities and circumstances may differ, it appears that up to this level no substantial biological effects are observed. Lnight,outside of 30 dB is equivalent to the NOEL for night noise.|
|30 to 40 dB||A number of effects on sleep are observed from this range: body movements, awakening, self-reported sleep disturbance, arousals. The intensity of the effect depends on the
nature of the source and the number of events. Vulnerable groups (for example children, the chronically ill and the elderly) are more susceptible. However, even in the worst cases the effects seem modest. Lnight,outside of 40 dB is equivalent to the LOAEL for night noise.
|40 to 55 dB||Adverse health effects are observed among the exposed population. Many people have to adapt their lives to cope with the noise at night. Vulnerable groups are more severely affected.|
|Above 55 dB||The situation is considered increasingly dangerous for public health. Adverse health effects occur frequently, a sizeable proportion of the population is highly annoyed and sleep-disturbed. There is evidence that the risk of cardiovascular disease increases.|
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