Research reports on the effects of noise

Two reports recently published highlight the link between noise and the effects on human health. Institute of Acoustics’ members Bernard Berry and Dr Ian Flindell were commissioned by Defra to undertake a review of research into links between noise and health. Nicole Porter was also part of the project team.

Estimating Dose-Response Relationships between Noise Exposure and Human Health in the UK was produced and looked at the detrimental impacts from noise pollution including annoyance, adverse health impacts, and slower learning rates in children.

Bernard Berry, who is also Euronoise 2009 General Chairman, the eighth European conference on noise control, taking place on 26-28 October in Edinburgh, and Ian Flindell were also involved in another
ad-hoc expert group which published: Environmental Noise and Health in the UK.

The report prepared by the expert group at the request of the Department of Health, examines the evidence linking noise and annoyance; cardio-vascular disease, mental illness and impairment of development of cognitive functions among children.

It points to an increase in evidence showing an association between environmental noise and raised blood pressure and coronary heart disease. Evidence to show that environmental noise damages mental health remains inconclusive, according to the report.

Bernard said: “The BEL Report is important as it establishes a firm basis for a methodology for the economic valuation of health effects, as part of high-level policy appraisal decisions in the UK. It also shows how other EU countries are dealing with this issue. The HPA Report provides a valuable overview of a complex topic”

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