A Systematic Review of the Basis for WHO's New Recommendation for Limiting Aircraft Noise Annoyance

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 Dec 2;15(12):2717. doi: 10.3390/ijerph15122717.


The new WHO Environmental Noise Guidelines for the European Region have recommendations for limiting noise exposure associated with adverse health effects. The limits are said to be based on a systematic review of existing evidence. This paper gives a systematic assessment of the presented evidence with respect to annoyance from aircraft noise. The new guidelines have been based on the results from a selection of existing aircraft noise studies. This paper demonstrates that a similar selection of other existing post-2000 studies will yield very different results. In addition, the validity of the presented evidence has been questioned as some of the referenced studies have not been conducted according to standardized methods, and the selection of respondents is not representative of the general airport population.

Keywords: WHO guidelines; aircraft noise; annoyance; dose–response; environment.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aircraft*
  • Airports
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects
  • Environmental Exposure / prevention & control*
  • Guideline Adherence*
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Noise, Transportation / adverse effects
  • Noise, Transportation / prevention & control*
  • World Health Organization*