Evidence Relating to Environmental Noise Exposure and Annoyance, Sleep Disturbance, Cardio-Vascular and Metabolic Health Outcomes in the Context of IGCB (N): A Scoping Review of New Evidence

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Apr 26;17(9):3016. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17093016.


WHO published the Environmental Noise Guidelines for the European Region in 2018, based on seven systematic reviews including studies published between 2000 and 2014. Since then, new studies were published. At the request of the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), a review on annoyance, sleep disturbance, cardiovascular and metabolic effects in relation to environmental noise was prepared. The aim was to advise the Interdepartmental Group on Costs and Benefits Noise Subject Group (IGCB(N)) whether this new evidence warrants an update of their recommendations. Four databases for observational studies were screened and data were extracted on design, type and measurements of exposures and outcomes and confounders and their associations. The quality of the studies was indirectly assessed for cardiovascular and metabolic effects by only including studies with a case control or cohort design. For studies on annoyance and sleep disturbance, the risk of bias was expressed in exposure misclassification, selective participation and confounding. The update yielded 87 papers, pertaining to 108 new studies of which 40 new studies were on annoyance, 42 on sleep disturbance and 26 concerning cardiovascular and metabolic effects. The number, size and quality of the new studies suggest new meta-analyses could be undertaken over the sources and effects included in the WHO reviews.

Keywords: WHO environmental noise guidelines for the European region; annoyance; cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders; health; noise; sleep disturbance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Diseases
  • Noise*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Rural Population
  • Sleep Wake Disorders*
  • Systematic Reviews as Topic