Monetary valuation of health impacts from noise
Environmental noise constitutes a persistent threat created by dense and highly industrialized societies, from which one cannot easily protect people in densely populated areas. Noise impacts on people reach from annoyance and sleep disturbance over direct impacts on the aural system, indirect physical impacts to cognitive impairments and psychological disorders. Noise impacts vary with exposure levels, time of day, sound source characteristics, peoples' constitution, surrounding conditions and the cultural settings and may well change over time. When quantifying most of these impacts, the analyst thus needs to rely on polls, behavioral observations or health statistics with large samples and well defined control variables. The monetary costs of noise then need to include peoples' experienced decline in quality of life due to annoyance and health issues, as well as the consequential costs for the health system and the wider economy. While quality of life can be estimated with the WHO's Global Burden of Disease (GBD) method, economic costs need to rely on health cost, and labor statistics. In all steps of the cost assessment, uncertainties are high, such that cost functions and ranges appear more appropriate than single cost values.