Neighbour noise in multi-storey housing – Annoyance and potential health effects



Neighbour and traffic noise annoyance questions have been included in the Danish Health and Morbidity Surveys since year 2000. Noise annoyance was assessed by asking the respondents about noise annoyance from neighbours and traffic, respectively, in their home during the past two weeks. For people in multi-storey housing, neighbour noise annoyance was significantly higher than annoyance from traffic. The latest survey was performed in 2017; 3893 respondents living in multi-storey houses completed the self-administered questionnaire, 36% reported being very/slightly bothered by neighbour noise and 22% by traffic noise.

Additional studies were carried out aiming at analyzing associations between neighbour noise annoyance and physical/mental health symptoms such as pain in various body parts, headache, fatigue, depression and anxiety and furthermore with getting enough sleep to feel rested. Noise annoyance from neighbours was strongly associated with all these health/sleep outcomes. Similar associations were observed for traffic noise. Although causality cannot be established in this cross-sectional study, it is concluded that neighbour noise annoyance is strongly associated with various physical/mental health symptoms and with not getting enough sleep to feel rested.

The results highlight that health effects of neighbour noise might be as serious as for traffic noise and should have more attention.