Noise and Your Health
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Many human activities result in the creation of noise, which makes it a challenge to control in a dense and growing city like Toronto. Common source of noise include transportation (aircraft, road vehicles and, rail cars), construction and landscaping equipment, household appliances, power tools and sound systems.
Exposure to high levels of sound can result in adverse effects to humans, including:
- Hearing problems
- Heart disease
- Memory and mental function problems
- Sleep disturbance
Toronto Public Health addresses concerns due to noise by reviewing proposals and providing advice on major initiatives.
For more information on environmental noise and related health effects, see Health Canada and the World Health Organization websites, as well as our recent report on Health Impacts of Environmental Noise.
The Medical Officer of Health as part of our Health Impacts of Environmental Noise work will be convening an inter divisional working group to develop a Noise Management Action Plan. The following actions can reduce your exposure to harmful levels of noise:
- Buy Quiet – select and purchase low-noise tools and appliances
- Maintain tools and appliances routinely
- Reduce the volume on your television and portable music devices
- Isolate the noise source in an insulated room or enclosure
- Use sound barriers, such as double paned windows, weather stripping or planting trees to act as a buffer between the noise source and your family
- Wear an ear protection device for noisy commutes or other inescapable noisy environments
Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport operates a Noise Management Program which receives and investigates noise complaints.
Toronto Pearson Airport Noise Management Office receives, analyses and responds to complaints.
Toronto Public Health in collaboration with Ryerson University conducted a study on noise levels in the City of Toronto. The goal of the study is to characterize noise level exposures among Toronto’s residents. Outcomes of the study will be used to identify and address general and specific noise situations where potential health impacts are present and be used to inform the Noise Bylaw review by Municipal Licensing and Standards.