Baden Württemberg

ÖGD - Öffentlicher Gesundheitsdienst

ÖGD - Öffentlicher Gesundheitsdienst

Startseite / Housing and Health / Noise


 Deutsche Version

Teenager mit Kopfhörern © gajatz -

In the last decades exposure to noise has become one of the largest environmental burdens. Noise interferes not only at work, but with people’s daily activities at home, at school and during leisure time. According to experts in environmental medicine the health impact of noise is probably underestimated. Recent research establishes that a variety of health effects are linked to noise. There are two different types of health impacts: impairments of hearing and other health effects. Many teenagers and young adults put themselves to excessive noise listening to music during leisure activities or in discotheques. Scientists measure the levels of different sounds with a unit called the A-weighted decibel dB(A). Permanent sound levels exceeding 85 db(A) can cause damages of the internal ear depending on exposure time:

  • temporary threshold shift (hearing fatigue)
  • permanent threshold shift (probably inducing tinnitus or hearing impairment) 

ENT-doctors are faced with kids being hearing impaired by leisure noise more and more often. Accordingly measures to reduce the exposure to high levels of noise are very important. Though even noise below the threshold of 85 dB (A) can cause a variety of serious health effects, to some extent mediated by the autonomic nervous system:

  • cognitive impairments (working and communication is disturbed)
  • interferences with social behaviour (threshold for aggressiveness drops)
  • hormonal responses (stress hormones are released) and their impact on human metabolism and immune system
  • sleep disturbance and all its consequences on a long and short term basis for performance at school and work
  • Raising of blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases and increased risk for heart attack

Further Information

Staff of the Baden-Württemberg State Health Office took part in the event on hearing health in Stuttgart at 15th and 16th of June 2010 providing information concerning the risk of leisure noise:  "What can I do? How to avoid hearing loss by leisure noise".  Attendees may conduct a free hearing test, try a noise traffic light and find out the limit of 85 db of one's own MP3-player measured by an artifical ear. 

 Event on hearing health "...pscht! hör mal her" in the city hall Stuttgart

 Videocast in You Tube regarding this event

The State Health Office advises parents how to prevent hearing damages by leisure noise. The flyer is specially designed for girls or boys and can be ordered as printed version or downloaded as pdf-document.

 Lärmbedingter Hörverlust bei Kindern

Gesundheitsrisiken durch Lärm

Please notice our brochure „Umed-Info“ regarding leisure noise and the projects of the public health service.

  Freizeitlärm und Gesundheit 

On 30 March 2011 the WHO Regional Office for Europe published new evidence on health effects of traffic related noise.

  "Burden of Disease from Environmental Noise - Quantification of Healthy Life Years Lost in Europe" 

General information regarding noise provided by the Federal Environment Agency of Germany (Umweltbundesamt).

 Noise - What' s new

Exhibition on noise and noise prevention in the environment  "Lärmschutz in Stuttgart".

 Amt für Umweltschutz  "Lärmschutz in Stuttgart" (PDF; 5,32 MB)

Update 06/2011


Baden-Württemberg State Health Office
  Dr. Snezana Jovanovic
Phone +49 (0) 711 904-651