People who listen to loud music using headphones are “disfiguring their lives”, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.

“Noise pollution in our towns and cities is increasing, disfiguring the lives of many European citizens,” said Dr. Zsuzsanna Jakab, the organization’s regional director for Europe. excessive noise is a health risk – contributing to cardiovascular diseases, for example. We need to act on the many sources of noise pollution – from motorized vehicles to loud nightclubs and concerts – to protect our health.”


He was speaking after WHO launched its new noise pollution guidelines which aim to protect people from harmful exposure to noise.

They included the average noise exposure for road traffic noise, railway noise, aircraft noise, and wind turbine noise.

But for the first time music from nightclubs and concerts has been included.

“spare time noise” also included volume from pubs, fitness classes, live sporting events, concerts or live music venues and also listening to loud music through headphones.


Sticking to the maximum recommended exposure levels for spare time noise – 70 decibels on average over the course of a year – should mean that people do not suffer adverse health effects, such as hearing impairment, the guidelines suggest.

Dr. Jakab said:  “The new WHO guidelines define exposure levels to noise that should not be exceeded to minimize adverse health effects and we urge European policy-makers to make good use of this guidance for the benefit of all Europeans.”

Professor Stephen Stansfeld from the Queen Mary University of London, who was chairman of the Guidelines Development Group, added that the guidelines were developed based on a wide range of research.


He said: “They aim to support public health policy that will protect communities from the adverse effects of noise, as well as stimulate further research into the health effects of different types of noise.”

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