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25+ Revealing Noise Pollution Statistics: Environment & Oceans (2022)

Last updated: 4 weeks ago
6 min read

Noise pollution is a part of our everyday life, whether we like it or not.

Around 5% of the global population suffers from noise-induced hearing loss due to environmental noise pollution, with 40% of Americans living in dangerously loud areas.

Learn how many people are affected by noise pollution and its effect on human health and marine life.

Man with hands over ears

Noise Pollution Statistics (2022)

People affected by noise pollution worldwide

Americans affected by noise pollution

The country with the highest noise pollution

Most common sources of noise pollution

Most common effects of noise pollution

Noise Pollution Statistics (Top picks)

  • 30 million Americans are exposed to noise pollution above healthy levels.
  • Long-term exposure to noise can lead to health and mental problems.
  • Yearly, 12,000 Europeans die prematurely due to noise pollution.
  • USA and Italy are the loudest countries in the world.
  • Traffic is the most common source of noise pollution.

How many people are affected by noise pollution worldwide?

Noise pollution contributes to hearing loss; as of 2021, 432 million adults worldwide suffer from it.

Among the number, 34 million represent children.

It’s expected that by 2050, 2.5 billion people will experience hearing loss to some degree of noise pollution.

On average, 1/3 of the population claim that the world has become noisier in recent years.

41% of Italians and 29% of Dutchmen think the noise pollution has worsened.

51% of people living in the city, and even 9% of people living outside cities, complain about the noise.

How many people are affected by noise pollution in the EU?

20% or 100 million people in the EU are exposed to environmental noise such as:

  • Road traffic noise pollution
  • Railways
  • Airports

Sources: WHO, Amplifon, EEA

You can find all the source links bottom.

How many Americans are affected by noise pollution?

Around 30 million Americans live where noise pollution exceeds the healthy limit.

30 million Americans are exposed to unhealthy noise pollution

The number has increased by 10 million in the last few years.

30 million Americans are exposed to dangerous noise levels in their workplace.

New York is one of the loudest cities in the United States.

The loudest measured sound at 95dB and the quietest at 56dB.

From January 2021 to May 2021, people filed noise complaints 242,141 times, which is 21.5% more complaints than the year before.

Out of 183,640 complaints in New York between January 2022 and May 2022, loud music/party was the most common at 51%.

Type of
complaint
Number of
filed complaints
Loud music/
party
101,579
Banging/
pounding
36,228
Loud talking15,207
Car/truck
music
10,787
Other7,756
Construction
noise
6,045
Car/truck
horn
6,038
(Thrillist)

Sources: Healthy Hearing, NIH, UNEP, RentHop, Thrillist

How noise pollution affects health?

Excessive noise exposure can lead to:

Noise annoyance, insomnia, stress, metabolic and cardiovascular problems, and adverse effects on children’s cognitive functions.

The study of the Tarkwa mining community in Ghana separated the community members into 7 groups in order to research the effects of noise pollution.

Group 1 (size: 220 members)

EffectsNumber of members affectedPercentage
Annoyance16073%
Stress12758%
Sleep
problems
13662%
Hearing-related
problems
18484%
Concentration issues16776%
Heart-related
problems
17379%
(Science Direct)

Group 2 (size: 320 members)

EffectsNumber of members affectedPercentage
Annoyance23072%
Stress12758%
Poor
sleep
20464%
Hearing-related
problems
27586%
Concentration issues23373%
Heart-related
problems
26583%
(Science Direct)

Group 3 (size: 250 members)

EffectsNumber of members affectedPercentage
Annoyance17068%
Stress15060%
Poor
sleep
16265%
Hearing-related
problems
20281%
Concentration issues18072%
Heart-related
problems
20582%
(Science Direct)

Group 4 (size: 212 members)

EffectsNumber of members affectedPercentage
Annoyance12760%
Stress13363%
Poor
sleep
16176%
Hearing-related
problems
13765%
Concentration issues13162%
Heart-related
problems
11253%
(Science Direct)

Here are the effects of noise pollution on members of different genders and age groups.

(M) aged
18-35
(M) aged
36-70
(F) aged
18-35
(F) aged
36-70
n150150150150
Annoyance93
(62%)
114
(76%)
75
(50%)
97
(65%)
Stress79
(53%)
132
(88%)
63
(42%)
99
(66%)
Poor
sleep
114
(76%)
67
(45%)
90
(60%)
48
(32%)
Hearing
issues
100
(67%)
124
(83%)
76
(51%)
102
(68%)
Issues
focusing
103
(69%)
139
(93%)
78
(52%)
112
(75%)
Heart
issues
54
(36%)
58
(39%)
39
(26%)
48
(32%)
(M=Male, F=Female) (Science Direct)

More than 12,000 people in the EU die prematurely from long-term environmental noise exposure.

Noise pollution is responsible for 48,000 new cases of ischaemic heart disease per year in the EU.

It’s estimated that around 72,000 hospital admissions are due to noise pollution.

An estimated 22 million people in the EU suffer from chronic high annoyance.

Around 6.5 million have chronic high sleep disturbance.

Noise pollution can affect wildlife.

Many animals use sound to survive, from finding food, navigating, finding mates, and staying away from predators.

Sources: EEA, Science Direct, Iberdrola, National Geographic

What country has the highest noise pollution?

USA and UK are among the noisiest countries in the world.

USA and UK are the loudest countries in the world

On average, these 2 countries have the highest levels of noise pollution based on available data.

Sources: Amplifon, EEA 3

Noise pollution by country rankings

Top 10 countries in Europe based on the number of people exposed to excessive noise pollution.

Country
in Europe
People exposed to
noise during daytime
People exposed to
noise during nighttime
UK9.559.0006.436.400
Italy8.529.4006.745.200
France6.853.1004.485.400
Germany5.717.1003.778.000
Spain4.521.2003.087.500
Poland4.406.5002.770.200
Netherlands3.296.5001.875.200
Romania2.752.7001.956.700
Switzerland2.576.5001.793.900
Hungary1.607.1001.211.000
(EEA 3) UK isn’t part of the EU anymore

India is the noisiest country in the world, based on a subjective web survey.

India is the noisiest country in the world according to its citizens

Followed by the USA, China, and Italy.

RankingCountry
1.India
2.USA
3.China
4.Italy
5.Egypt
6.Spain
7.Vietnam
8.Turkey
(I2A2) This data is purely subjective and based on people’s opinion

Sources: EEA 3, I2A2

If we want more objective, measured data, look at the results below:

Top 10 noisiest cities in the world

Dhaka is by far the noisiest city in the world, with the maximum measured sound at 119dB.

City & CountryMaximum
measured noise
Minimum
measured noise
Dhaka (Bangladesh)119dB57dB
Moradabad (India)114dB29dB
Islamabad (Pakistan)105dB47dB
Rajshahi (Bangladesh)103dB55dB
Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam)103dB49dB
Ibadan (Nigeria)101dB59dB
Algiers (Algeria)100dB79dB
Kupondole (Nepal)100dB70dB
Bangkok (Thailand)99dB48dB
New York (USA)95dB56dB
(UNEP)

What are the most common sources of noise pollution?

Most common sources of noise pollution

Most common sources of environmental noise and how loud they are:

Source of the noiseLoudness
Traffic70-100dB
Air traffic50-130dB
Construction80-115dB
Night life
(bars, parties)
Up to 100dB
Animals60-80dB
Households20-110dB
Agriculture90-98dB
(Iberdrola) (Nonoise) (Your Article Library) (Washington University)

Road traffic is the biggest noise polluter in the EU.

An estimated 100 million people live in areas where traffic noise exceeds 55dB. Around 32 million are exposed to levels above 65dB.

  1. The second biggest source is railways, with 19 million people exposed to noises louder than 55dB.
  2. The third biggest source is airports, with 4.1 million people affected.
  3. The fourth-biggest source is industrial noise, affecting around 1 million people.

Sources: Iberdrola, Nonoise, Your Article Library, Washington University, EEA 2

What are the most common effects of noise pollution?

The most common problem caused by noise pollution is hearing loss.

Hearing loss is the most common cause of noise pollution

Other areas where noise pollution affects human health are:

  • Physical – respiratory problems, high blood pressure and pulse, headaches, gastritis, and heart attacks.
  • Psychological – stress, depression, anxiety, hysteria, fatigue (also applicable to animals)
  • Sleep – noises louder than 45dB prevent you from sleeping normally (maximum recommended loudness is 30dB)
  • Behavior – aggressiveness and agitation
  • Cognitive functions – memory issues, troubles with concentration

Sources: National Geographic, Iberdrola

What are noise pollution effects on children and their development?

Children living in noisy areas suffer from stress and cognitive dysfunctions.

Children are especially susceptible to noise-related problems. Those living near an airport or busy streets are known to suffer stress and impaired memory, attention, and reading skills.

Some even have higher resting blood pressure and stress levels due to long-term noise exposure.

Noise pollution can affect unborn babies.

Loud environmental noises can affect the development of fetuses, newborns, and little children.

Child development stageNoise exposureEffects
Intrauterine
(fetus)
Approx. 80dB
for 8 hours
Inability to hear high frequencies, prematurity, birth defects, low weight.
NewbornApprox. 45dBHearing loss, faster heart rate and breathing, and lower oxygen saturation.
ChildApprox. 70dB
(long exposure)
Approx. 100dB
(sudden exposure)
Problem with attention and learning, damaged ear drums.
(Indian Pediatrics)

Sources: National Geographic, EHCC, Indian Pediatrics

What is an acceptable level of noise? / What are WHO-recommended noise levels?

World Health Organization recommends different loudness exposures depending on source and time of day.

Acceptable level of noise

Here’s a table of acceptable levels of noise for day and night:

Noise sourceDaytime limitNighttime limit
Traffic53dB45dB
Railway54dB44dB
Aircraft45dB40dB
Wind turbine45dBNo data
(UNEP)

What are the different levels of noise pollution?

How loud is too loud

Here’s a table of different levels of noise pollution:

LoudnessExampleExposure until damage
10dBBreathing/
20dBMosquitos/
30dBWhisper/
40dBQuiet room/
50dBModerate rainfall/
60dBNormal conversation/
70-80dBPassing trafficAround 8 hours
80-85dBPassing motorcycleAround 2 hours
90-95dBHairdryerAround 50 minutes
100dBChainsawAround 15 minutes
105dBLawnmowerAround 5 minutes
110dBTromboneAround 2 minutes
120dBPolice sirenAround 1 minute
130-150dBFireworksInstant damage
(CDC) (Harvard Health)

What percentage of population has hearing loss?

Over 1.5 billion people worldwide suffer from hearing loss, according to World Health Organization (WHO).

It’s estimated that the number will rise to 2.5 billion by 2050.

Read more about the hearing loss, tinnitus and deafness statistics.

Around 12.5% (or 5.2 million) of US children and teenagers aged 6-19 suffer permanent hearing damage from loud noise exposure.

Furthermore, 17% (or 26 million) of US adults are experiencing the same problems.

Ocean noise pollution statistics / What are ocean noise pollution levels?

Killer whales feed 18-25% less time when hunting near boats compared to quiet areas.

Through ship engines and sonar-induced noise, humans disturb marine life.

Dolphins and whales need echolocation to function normally, which is disturbed by ships and sonars. Military sonars can reach up to 230dB at their source.

Fishers catch 40-80% fewer fish near areas where humans conduct seismic surveys.

The loudest sounds undersea:

Here’s a table of different underwater sound sources and their loudness:

Sound’s sourceLoudness
Underwater earthquake250dB
Undersea volcanic eruption240dB
Sonar or seismic air gun array230dB
Supertanker175dB
Blue whale170dB
Frigate160dB
Drilling rig150dB
Hydrographic sensors150dB
Humpback whale140dB
Sperm whale130dB
Bowhead whale120dB
Dolphin100dB
(Nature)

Sources: WHO 2, NIH, Nature, National Geographic, AWI, Nature

Conclusion

Noise pollution is everywhere, so it’s important to know how it affects our daily lives.

Do you think the world is getting noisier? How does noise affect your life?

Hopefully, you learned something new, and if you’ve heard any other fascinating stat we could add, please let us know in the comments.

Sources: WHO, WHO 2, Amplifon, EEA, EEA 2, EEA 3, Science Direct, Iberdrola, National Geographic, UNEP, Washington University, Nonoise, Your Article Library, EHCC, Indian Pediatrics, CDC, Harvard Health, I2A2, NIH, NIH 2, Healthy Hearing, Nature, AWI, RentHop

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