Noise has emerged as a leading environmental nuisance in the WHO European Region, and public complaints about excessive noise are increasing. European ministers of health and the environment reaffirmed in the 2010 Parma Declaration their call to reduce children’s exposure to harmful noise in different settings. Such exposure may have life-long consequences.

WHO guidelines for community noise

To this end, WHO/Europe is updating the 1999 WHO guidelines for community noise, which address several sources of noise and community settings. The update will focus on the European Region and consider additional sources of noise, such as personal electronic devices.

WHO night noise guidelines for Europe

Night noise affects an estimated 20 per cent of the European population. The 2009 WHO night noise guidelines for Europe provide both evidence and recommendations that countries can easily use to introduce targeted limits for night noise. These guidelines support and integrate the 2002 European Union Directive on Environmental Noise, which requires countries to map hotspots and reduce exposure, but does not set limit values.