Noise guidelines community noise… World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for community noise (community Noise WHO vol.2 issue 1, 1995 and guidelines for Community Noise 2000) states that in order to avoid sleep disturbance noise levels (LAeq) should not exceed 30 dB internally. For noise with a large proportion of low-frequency sound (likely from air conditioning units) a still lower guideline value is recommended.
The WHO guideline values are appropriate to what are termed “critical health effects”. This means that the limits are at the lowest noise level that would result in any physiological or sociological effect.
To achieve this standard, the World Health Organisation states that outside sound levels at night, measured 1 meter from the façade of the nearest residential property should not exceed 45dB LAeq. This is to ensure that people who sleep with bedrooms’ windows open will be able to achieve a recommended internal noise level of 30 dB (so as to avoid sleep disturbance).
To protect the majority of people from being seriously annoyed during the daytime the WHO recommendation is that outdoor sound level from steady, continuous noise should not exceed 55 dB LAeq on balconies, terraces and in outdoor living areas. Whilst to protect the majority of people from being moderately annoyed during the daytime the recommendation is that the outdoor sound level should not exceed 50dB LAeq.