Major citizen survey to measure noise levels and effects on health

The University of Antwerp is organising the largest ever citizen survey on sound levels in Flanders. Starting on Tuesday, people can fill out the Great Sound Survey, which will study the impact of noise on daily life in the region.

The overarching project, De Oorzaak, is a collaboration between the University of Antwerp, UZ Antwerpen and the newspaper De Morgen and began in September. The partners aim to map in detail the sounds citizens hear throughout the day and the effects they have on health.

According to the World Health Organization, exposure to high noise levels is one of the primary environmental causes of health problems. Prolonged exposure to aggravating environmental noise can cause heart disease, diabetes and mental disorders.

© De Oorzaak
© De Oorzaak

In the first phase of the project, people can create a sound report based on specific criteria. "Over 6,000 participants mapped their sound environment during a walk," says researcher Jonas Lembrechts. "The results showed us that 22 per cent of respondents find the sound in their environment pleasant. 56 per cent describe it as unpleasant. Complete silence is almost never experienced anywhere."

The data is subjective but will be combined with the scientific data that will be collected during the project.

Residents of Antwerp, Ghent and Leuven can volunteer to have a smart sound sensor installed by their window for two months. 2,400 people will receive such a sensor.


#FlandersNewsService | © BELGA PHOTO HENK DELEU

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