Noise exposure has also been known to induce tinnitus, hypertension, vasoconstriction and other cardiovascular impacts. Beyond these effects, elevated noise levels can create stress, increase workplace accident rates, and stimulate aggression and other anti-social behaviors. The most significant causes are vehicle and aircraft noise, prolonged exposure to loud music, and industrial noise. Road traffic causes almost 80 % of the noise annoyances in Norway. Traffic noise alone is harming the health of almost every third person in the WHO European Region. One in five Europeans is regularly exposed to sound levels at night that could significantly damage.
The social costs of traffic noise in EU22 are over €40 billion per year, and passenger cars and lorries (trucks) are responsible for bulk of costs. Traffic noise alone is harming the health of almost every third person in the WHO European Region. One in five Europeans is regularly exposed to sound levels at night that could significantly damage health.
Noise is also a threat to marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
Governments up until the 1970s viewed noise as a "nuisance" rather than an environmental problem. In the United States there are federal standards for highway and aircraft noise; states and local governments typically have very specific statutes on building codes, urban planning and roadway development. In Canada and the EU there are few national, provincial, or state laws that protect against noise.
Noise laws and ordinances vary widely among municipalities and indeed do not even exist in some cities. An ordinance may contain a general prohibition against making noise that is a nuisance, or it may set out specific guidelines for the level of noise allowable at certain times of the day and for certain activities.
Dr. Paul Herman wrote the first comprehensive noise codes in 1975 for Portland, Oregon with funding from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and HUD (Housing and Urban Development). The Portland Noise Code became the basis for most other ordinances for major U.S. and Canadian metropolitan regions.
Most city ordinances prohibit sound above a threshold intensity from trespassing over property line at night, typically between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., and during the day restricts it to a higher sound level; however, enforcement is uneven. Many municipalities do not follow up on complaints. Even where a municipality has an enforcement office, it may only be willing to issue warnings, since taking offenders to court is expensive.
The notable exception to this rule is the City of Portland Oregon which has instituted an aggressive protection for its citizens with fines reaching as high at $5000 per infraction, with the ability to cite a responsible noise violator multiple times in a single day.
Many conflicts over noise pollution are handled by negotiation between the emitter and the receiver. Escalation procedures vary by country, and may include action in conjunction with local authorities, in particular the police. Noise pollution often persists because only five to ten percent of people affected by noise will lodge a formal complaint. Many people are not aware of their legal right to quiet and do not know how to register a complaint.