Understanding Noise Exposure Limits: Occupational vs General Environmental Noise (2016). This blog by researchers from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health distinguishes between safe environmental noise exposure (70 dB, 24 hr average) from occupational (85 dB, 8 hr/day, during working year). Please note that these levels are limits to prevent hearing loss, not other non-hearing health problems.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (2014). This fact sheet from the National Institute of Deafness and Communication Disorders describes noise sources at home that are harmful to children’s hearing, including gas-powered lawn mowers and leaf blowers.
Noise and Its Effects on Children (2009). This educational flyer from the US Environmental Protection Agency describes the dangers of high levels of noise for children’s health and hearing, and includes leaf blowers as a source.
Ambient Noise Is “The New Secondhand Smoke” (2019). This review by Dr Dan Fink, QC Health Advisor and Founder of The Quiet Coalition, evaluates the evidence on noise levels and their effects on auditory and non-auditory health in the Fall issue of Acoustics Today.
Environmental Noise and the Cardiovascular System (2018). This review article from the Journal of the American College of Cardiology by cardiologist Thomas Munzel and associates, focuses on the mechanisms and the epidemiology of noise-induced cardiovascular diseases and explains how noise damages the cardiovascular system.
Too Loud! For Too Long! (2017). This report from the US Centers for Disease Control describes sources of harmful environmental noise, highlighting lawn and garden equipment, and includes a powerful infographic.
Guidelines for Community Noise. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization, 1999. Berglund B, Lindvall T, Schwela DH (Eds). Nearly 20 years old but still the most recent guidelines out there. This provide a rich compendium of information on what constitutes safe noise levels in a wide variety of indoor and outdoor settings as well the scientific rationale being them. Well worth a careful read.
What is a Safe Noise Level for the Public? (2016) In this 2016 article by Dr. Dan Fink in the American Journal of Public Health, he dispels the notion that the 85-decibel occupational noise threshold is a safe level for the public. The actual level is much lower.
Auditory and non-auditory effects of noise on health (2014). A comprehensive scientific review article by Dr. Mathias Basner in The Lancet, a premier medical journal, describing the effects of noise on hearing as well as non-hearing health — for example, blood pressure and heart disease.