In WHO noise quality guidelines, values are summarized with regard to specific environments and effects. For each environment and situation, the guideline values take into consideration the identified health effects and are set, based on the lowest levels of noise that affect health (critical health effect). Guideline values typically correspond to the lowest effect level for general populations, such as those for indoor speech intelligibility. Noise guideline values are for the onset of health effects from noise exposures.

Specific Environment Time Base (hours) Standard limits as per WHO guidelines
LAeq [dB] LAmax, fast [dB]
Outdoor living area 16 50 - 55 -
Dwelling, indoors, Inside bedrooms 16
Outside bedrooms 8 45 60
School class rooms and pre-schools, indoors During class 35 -
Pre-school bedrooms, indoors Sleeping time 30 45
School, playground outdoor During play 55 -
Hospital, ward rooms, indoors 8
40 -
Hospitals, treatment rooms, indoors - As low as possible -
Industrial, commercial, shopping and traffic areas, indoors and outdoors 24 70 110
Ceremonies, festivals and entertainment events 4 100 110
Public addresses, indoors and outdoors 1 85 110
Music through headphones/earphones 1 85 (under headphones, adapted to free-field values) 110
Impulse sounds from toys, fireworks and firearms - - 120-140 (peak sound pressure (not LAmax, fast), measured 100 mm from the ear)
Outdoors in parkland and conservation areas - Existing quiet outdoor areas should b e preserved and the ratio of intruding noise to natural background sound should be kept low -
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