Vroom, vroom, vroom.
- More Canadians than ever complain about traffic noise: Health Canada
Sun Jun 11, 12:31 PM EST
By Dean Beeby
OTTAWA (CP) - Vroom, vroom, vroom.
If you can hear the din of traffic as you read this, you're not
alone: a newly released survey suggests more Canadians than ever are
living with the annoying rev of engines and squeal of tires.
The poll for Health Canada suggests 41 per cent of Canadians are
bothered by road traffic noise while at their homes, up from 37 per
cent in a similar survey three years earlier. Seven per cent said
the noise level was so high that their lives were seriously
"Almost half of Canadians felt their annoyance with road noise had a
negative impact on their health," says a survey report, obtained by
The Canadian Press.
"Two-thirds thought road traffic noise would have a significant
impact on the quality of their sleep."
There's been almost no scientific research in Canada about how
traffic noise affects well-being, although some studies in Sweden,
Norway and Britain have documented significant health effects,
including disturbed sleep.
To help fill the information gap, Health Canada hired IBM Business
Consulting Services to interview 2,565 Canadians age 15 years and
older in all provinces. The telephone survey took place throughout
last October, and national results are considered accurate to within
plus or minus 1.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Of this random sample, 28 per cent said they lived on or next to a
heavily travelled road, defined as having at least four lanes with a
posted speed limit of 80 kilometres an hour. Another third said they
lived within half a kilometre of such a road.
The survey found that the young, those with lower incomes and women
were all more likely to have homes adjacent to these major traffic
People living in communities with populations of 100,000 or more
were also more likely to live alongside busy stretches. And the
bigger the population, the more annoying the traffic noise.
"The larger the community size, the greater the proportion of
residents who reported being bothered by road noise and the greater
concern about the negative impact of their annoyance with road
noise," says the December 2005 report.
Regionally, Ontarians were the most bothered by the sound of
constant traffic outside their homes, with 8.3 per cent saying the
problem was serious.
"Ontario had the highest proportion of individuals who were bothered
by noise from road traffic and who felt their annoyance with road
noise had a negative impact on their health, in line with the high
proportion of Ontario residents who responded as being very or
extremely bothered by road noise."
The survey also found that more women than men reported being
annoyed by road noise when sleeping, having conversations, reading
or watching television.
IBM Business Consulting Services, which carried out a similar survey
for Health Canada in 2002, said the situation appeared to have
deteriorated in just three years.
The results parallel another Health Canada survey published in the
spring of 2005 that also suggested about seven per cent of
Canadians - or about 1.8 million individuals - are "highly annoyed"
by traffic noise.
The lead author of that report, David Michaud, declined to comment
on the new study, saying the department is still reviewing the data.
Health Canada's website suggests "when noise interferes with sleep,
wearing ear plugs can reduce noise levels, provided they do not