As every year, International Noise Awareness Day (INAD) will take place by the end of April. Organizations from all continents have participated in the INAD, promoting a range of diverse activities: from awareness campaigns at schools to competitions awarding innovative solutions to noise problems. The initiative, launched for the first time in 1995, arises in order to highlight the problems that noise causes in our society, whose harmful effects are frequently overlooked.
As addressed in several recent publications promoted by the WHO , there is a direct relationship between exposure to environmental noise and health problems such as cardiovascular disorders, sleep disturbance, stress or impacts on cognitive tasks. As evidence, each year over 245,000 people in the EU are affected by cardiovascular diseases that can be linked to traffic noise, from which almost 50,000 suffer a lethal heart attack . Therefore, environmental noise should be considered not only a cause of annoyance, but also a concern for public health.
All these consequences are some of the motivations for SONORUS, an on-going European Project that came up from the need to provide a holistic approach to the noise pollution problems, combining traffic planning, architectural aspects, noise control and soundscaping. For more information visit http://www.fp7sonorus.eu/
The University of Sheffield via School of Architecture’s Acoustic Group is actively involved in SONORUS with two main projects:
- perception of sound in outdoor environments or “soundscape” in scientific language. The ultimate goal is to finally produce “ideal” soundscapes described by a set of indicators, tested in various field surveys.
- effect of green spaces and traffic noise distribution in urban areas with the ultimate goal to identify how green spaces and urban morphological parameters can improve the current situation and finally lead to less noisy cities,
 Milford, Aasebo, Strommer, “Value for money in road traffic noise abatement”, Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences (2012)
 World Health Organization, JRC European Commission. “Burden of disease from environmental noise. Quantification of healthy life years lost in Europe” (2011)
 World Health Organization. “Environmental health inequalities in Europe” (2012)
 Den Boer, Schroten. “Traffic noise reduction in Europe: health effects, social costs and technical and policy options to reduce road and rail traffic noise”. CE Delft, solutions for environment, economy and technology. (2007)
More details http://www.fp7sonorus.eu