As a general rule of thumb, the World Health Organization considers average road traffic noise levels above 53 decibels and average aircraft noise levels above 45 dB to be associated with adverse health outcomes, though their metrics are weighted slightly differently than the average on your screen.
Nighttime noise is considered particularly harmful because it can fragment your sleep and prompt a stress response, even if you don’t remember waking up. The W.H.O. has long recommended less than 30 dB of nighttime noise inside your bedroom for high-quality sleep.
How to protect yourself
Without major regulatory changes, outside noise levels are unlikely to change. Still, health experts say you can take some steps to protect yourself.
Replace old windows with double-pane glass. You can apply foam insulation to noisy rooms — like those with whirring clothes dryers — to reduce their noise emissions.
When it comes to nighttime noise, it’s best to sleep in rooms as far away from the roadway as possible and to invest in heavy window drapes and thick rugs to reduce vibration.
Buy yourself some earplugs, too.
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