Expert Questions

One persons’ music is another’s noise.

— Based on Lucretius .

In this section, Acoustic Engineers, Building Professionals and Legal Experts give scope to the issue. Watch This Space as I try to answer the questions below and more.

Please contribute your own questions.

What is noise?

How do you measure it?

What are the potential impacts of exposure to noise?

What are the legal guidelines government and planners need to abide by when conducting noisy work?

What are the differences between noise generated from construction, traffic and commercial activity versus noise of buskers, live music and public events?

What powers or tools residents without access to fancy measurement technology have to argue the adverse effect of noise on their lives?

If a helicopter passes your house who do complain to?

The current guidelines of the World Health Organisation from 2018 are intended to be suitable for policy-making in the WHO European Region. They therefore focus on the most used noise indicators Lden and/or Lnight. They can be constructed using their components (Lday, Levening, Lnight and the duration in hours of Lnight), and are provided for exposure at the most exposed façade, outdoors. The Lden and Lnight indicators are those generally reported by authorities and are widely used for exposure assessment in health effect studies.How can a common resident who is not an acoustic engineer interpret or measure these? 

WHO health states the following potential impacts of exposure to noise: cardiovascular and metabolic effects; annoyance; effects on sleep; cognitive impairment; hearing impairment and tinnitus; adverse birth outcomes; and quality of life, mental health and well-being. Does any of those impacts are taken into account when planning major infrastructure projects?

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