Environmental noise; girl with fingers in her ears

Exposure to environmental noise is expected to cause more health problems in the Netherlands. There is increasingly more noise, and new houses are being built closer to noise sources. The health effects of noise exposure deserve more attention from policymakers and governments. That is why new environmental health guidelines for Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs) have been developed. 

The guidelines provide an up-to-date overview of scientific studies regarding noise and health. The guidelines provide GGDs with recommendations for issuing advice to citizens and policymakers. The aim is to improve the local noise situation and health impact as much as possible.

Exposure to environmental noise can have adverse health effects. For example, exposure to noise can lead to annoyance, sleep disturbance, disruption to daily activities and stress responses. Chronic exposure to environmental noise can lead to chronic effects, such as high blood pressure and elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Exposure to noise can also have a cognitive impact on children (poorer reading skills, for example). It is thought that the availability of a quiet area in the neighbourhood can contribute to compensating for the negative effects of noise and can have a restorative effect.

The GGD guidelines for environmental health (MMK) are intended to harmonise and optimise the work of GGDs, and are developed by professionals from the GGDs. RIVM has a coordinating role concerning these guidelines.