International Year of Sound 2020-2021

Sound and Society

Sound is omnipresent in our lives. Some sounds are useful, some are enjoyable. Some sounds are intrusive, some are hazardous

Noise and its Effects

Noise is often described as “unwanted sound”. The sounds from a construction site, from a busy highway, from a vacuum cleaner, from a leaf blower, these are all examples of noise. A beginning violinist will make more noise than music. The din in a bar or restaurant or even some classrooms is noise.

Noise interferes with communication. This can include face-to-face conversation, lectures, and business meetings via teleconferences. The enjoyment of music, television shows, and other forms of entertainment requires that interfering noise be minimized.

Levels and durations of noise that are too great can lead to hearing damage. Noise can cause sleep disturbance, annoyance, and increased risk of hypertension. The learning of children can be affected by poor classroom acoustics.

The International Commission for Biological Effects of Noise (ICBEN) has the goal to “promote a high level of scientific research concerning all the aspects of noise-induced effects on human beings and on animals including preventive regulatory measures and to keep alive a vivid communication among the scientists working in that field”.

© 2017-2020 International Commission for Acoustics