Love noise? You should move to New York… or Brisbane

The world’s a noisy place – but some places are noisier than others. A survey of 8,800 people across 11 countries has revealed the degree of noise we’re exposed to can vary significantly depending on where we live.

The survey’s respondents, living in 47 cities across the globe from Wellington to Utrecht, were asked about the kinds of noises they heard regularly. The resulting report, entitled ‘Coping With Noise,’ shows that noise exposure and consequent ‘noise sickness’ is increasing in large cities everywhere.

The world’s noisiest places.

Interestingly, the USA rated as the world’s noisiest country, and New York City claimed the title of ‘Noisiest City on Earth,’ with a massive 36% of New Yorker respondents experiencing high noise exposure levels. Across the Atlantic, Londoners – by contrast – were less exposed, with only 7% experiencing a similar noise level. Italy ranked a distant second in the survey, with residents of Naples experiencing the most noise in the country, and France, the UK and Portugal tied for a third, slightly quieter place.

Aussie Aussie Aussie, noise noise noise.

Closer to home, Australian cities rated somewhere in the middle – not the world’s noisiest, but far from the quietest either. Brisbane topped the charts locally, with 6% of residents experiencing a high level of noise, and Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide coming in a close second.

Fascinatingly, the types of noise exposure varied significantly throughout the country. Perth residents experienced the most road and traffic noise – with 36% exposed to a high or medium level – while Brisbanites endured the most noise from neighbours. Residents of Melbourne experienced the most noise due to ‘conversations of others’ – perhaps reflecting the city’s strong café culture.

Havens of peace.

Of course, if you’re seeking real quiet, you could move to the country – or maybe just pick a city in Germany. With only 2% of urban residents in the country exposed to high levels of noise, even the inhabitants of bustling Munich experience levels only slightly above this figure. In fact, the city is even more peaceful than much smaller towns such as Adelaide and Wellington. Sehr gut for lovers of the quiet life.

For more information on how to deal with noise in your own city, please contact your local clinic.

NHC blog is our place to explore ideas and themes of interest. For professional audiology advice, please contact your local clinic for a consultation.