The aim of this document is to present the conclusions of the World Health Organization (WHO) working group responsible for preparing guidelines for exposure to noise during sleep. This document can be seen as an extension of the WHO Guidelines for Community Noise (2000). The need for “health-based” guidelines originated in part from the European Union Directive 2002/49/EC relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise (commonly known as the Environmental Noise Directive and abbreviated as END) which will compel European Union Member States to produce noise maps and data about night exposure from mid- 2007. The work was made possible by a grant from the European Commission and contributions from the Swiss and German governments.
Although a number of countries do have legislation directed at controlling night noise exposure, there is little information on actual exposure and its subsequent effects on the population.
Estimates made in some countries of the number of people highly disturbed by noise during sleep (see Figure 1 for the Netherlands as an example) indicate that a substantial part of the population could be exposed to levels that might risk their health and wellbeing.
Click here to read the full report: 2007 Report on WHO Night Noise Guidelines for Europe