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Technology for a Quieter America (2010)

Chapter: 1 Introduction

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Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academy of Engineering. 2010. Technology for a Quieter America. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12928.


In 2005 the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) held a workshop to review the present state of technology in noise control engineering. The workshop was organized by a steering committee charged with developing a prospectus for further studies of noise-related issues in the United States and to investigate how current technologies could be used to reduce exposures to noise. The issues framed by the steering committee were subsequently considered in a series of workshops held by NAE in 2007 and 2008.

These issues included a review of community noise and metrics for measuring community noise; new technologies for a quieter America; engineering controls and common descriptors for hazardous noise; the impact of noise on the competitiveness of U.S. products; a cost-benefit analysis of noise control technologies; the gap between industry demand for noise control specialists and the supply coming through the education pipeline; noise control activities at the federal and state levels; state and local community noise control programs; dissemination of information to the public on the benefits of low-noise products; and the adverse effects of excessive noise.

This report attempts to address these issues in the following ways:

  • by summarizing the current state of the practice in noise control engineering;

  • by recommending how existing knowledge can be applied to address current challenges;

  • by presenting a research and education agenda that promotes the generation of new knowledge in fields that can provide the greatest benefit to society (ranging from employees to corporations and manufacturers to the public at large); and

  • by recommending policies that agencies can develop and adopt to improve the American “soundscape” and to promote quieter products and living environments.

The following sections introduce the broad categories under which these issues are grouped in the body of the report.


Americans are exposed to noise from many sources and in many environments. Almost anything or anyone can generate noise, but the major sources/categories of interest and/or concern include community noise in urban, suburban, and rural areas, as well as in workplaces, recreation areas, and classrooms; aircraft noise; noise from road traffic and other modes of surface transportation; hazardous noise; and consumer product noise.

As discussed in Appendix A, a common measure of noise is the sound pressure level in decibels. This level is almost always weighted according to the A-frequency weighting curve. The resulting value is expressed in dB(A).1 Table 1-1 gives the reader an idea of sound pressure levels generated by various sources. Figure 1-1 shows the range of environmental sound pressure levels encountered outdoors. Metrics for assessment of noise are more complicated than this description indicates and are discussed in detail in Chapter 3.

Community Noise

Communities are made up of buildings and outdoor spaces of various types and uses, all of which are affected by exterior environmental sources over which an individual has little or no control. Some major sources of environmental noise in communities include aircraft, road and rail transportation systems, construction that for some large civil works projects may last for decades, outdoor stationary building air-conditioning units, electrical transformer substations and other equipment associated with individual buildings or utilities, and noise from nearby industrial plants.

Unlike occupational noise, which can cause hearing loss, community noise is usually an annoyance and a “quality-of-life” issue. In contrast to emissions of noise from the sources


It is not the decibel that is A weighted but the level. However, the (A) is attached to the decibel for clarity and brevity and is widely used. Rather than say 50 dB(A), it is more correct to say the A-weighted sound pressure level is 50 dB.

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academy of Engineering. 2010. Technology for a Quieter America. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12928.

TABLE 1-1 Sound Pressure Levels Generated by Various Noise Sources

Sound Pressure Level


Quiet library, soft whispers


Living room, refrigerator


Light traffic, normal conversation, quiet office


Air conditioner at 20 feet, sewing machine


Vacuum cleaner, hair dryer, noisy restaurant


Average city traffic, garbage disposals, alarm clock at 2 feet


Subway, motorcycle, truck traffic, lawn mower


Garbage truck, chain saw, pneumatic drill


Rock band concert in front of speakers, thunderclap


Gunshot blast, jet plane


Rocket launching pad



noted below, community noise is an immission problem (i.e., what people hear).2

Today, the widely used criterion for assessing community noise levels in the United States is the day-night average sound level, or DNL (see Appendix A for definition). It is the sound pressure level averaged over 24 hours with the amplification of the measuring systems increased by 10 decibels during the nighttime hours. Since 1974, when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “Levels Document” and related documents were published, DNL and an exposure-effect relationship showing the percentage of respondents on social surveys who say they are “highly annoyed” by noise from various sources have generally been accepted as overall indicators of the impact of community noise. This exposure-effect relationship was first described in a classic analysis by Schultz (1978), who synthesized 12 major social surveys of reactions to transportation noise. The Schultz curve, which describes the results, essentially illustrates the percentage of the population predicted to be highly annoyed as a function of noise level (see Chapter 2 for further discussions of community and building noise criteria).

Noise in Quiet Areas

Areas in the United States that are relatively free of transportation noise and noise from most other sources are often used for recreation and are places where people value the absence of noise and the opportunity to hear “natural” sounds, such as the flapping of a bird’s wings or wind rustling through trees. However, noise from aircraft, off-road vehicles, and other sources sometimes intrudes on these quiet environments. The DNL metric is generally inadequate to describe the “soundscape” in such areas.

FIGURE 1-1 Comparison of A-weighted sound levels in common outdoor environments. Source: Miller (2003).

FIGURE 1-1 Comparison of A-weighted sound levels in common outdoor environments. Source: Miller (2003).

Aircraft Noise

Complaints about aviation noise have a long history. In an introduction to a review of current activities by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) related to aircraft noise, Burleson (2005) points out that 2003 was the 100th anniversary of flight and the 92nd anniversary of the first editorial complaining about aircraft noise.3 The most serious problems arose in the late 1950s when commercial jet aircraft came into service.

In the past 50 years, considerable progress has been made in reducing noise emissions from aircraft—mainly through the introduction of high bypass ratio engines, which were driven by a desire to reduce noise emissions and increase fuel efficiency. A 2001 U.S. General Accountability Office (GAO) report stated: “We currently estimate that the airlines’ costs directly attributable to complying with the transition to quieter aircraft noise standards ranged from $3.8 billion to $4.9 billion in 2000 dollars” (GAO, 2001). The transition, over a period of 35 years, led to a 95 percent reduction in the number of people impacted by aircraft noise in the United States (PARTNER, 2004).

Despite this progress, there are still noise issues around most of the nation’s commercial airports. In a report to Congress in 2000, a survey of the nation’s 50 busiest commercial airports indicated that noise was the number one concern for 33 airports and was of some degree of concern in areas around 49 of the 50 airports (GAO, 2000).


Emission and immission are defined in Appendix A. Briefly, emission is the sound directly emitted from a noise source essentially unaffected by the immediate environment around the source. Immission is the sound the receiver hears after it has traveled along a sound transmission path and has been affected by it.


Burleson, C. Aviation and the Environment: Navigating the Future. Presentation at an NAE-sponsored workshop, Technology for a Quieter America. Washington, DC., September 1, 2005.

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academy of Engineering. 2010. Technology for a Quieter America. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12928.

Traffic Noise

No recent studies have been done in the United States on the extent of exposure to highway traffic noise, but in 1981 EPA estimated that 19.3 million people were exposed to “annoying” DNLs greater than 65 dB (Waitz et al., 2007).4 Recent research has revealed that the interaction between road surfaces and tires is the main source of noise from vehicles traveling at highway speeds now that emitted engine and exhaust noise has been effectively reduced for most automotive vehicles. Research has also shown that this noise can be reduced by the proper design of highway road surfaces. Several states have initiated programs to determine the extent of noise reduction and the feasibility of building new road surfaces.

For the present, the primary solution has been to construct noise barriers in areas considered “noise impacted” by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The federal government cooperates with state departments of transportation in the construction of these barriers, the costs of which depend on the materials used, their height, and the terrain. FHWA (2009) has reported that as of the end of 2004 more than 3,500 kilometers of barriers had been constructed in 45 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico at a cost of more than $2.6 billion ($3.4 billion in 2004 dollars). Despite the high cost of roadside barriers, they are likely to remain an effective element in highway noise control. Reduction of tire/road interaction noise, however, generally provides more people with a smaller noise reduction—which is why cost-benefit analyses are needed. In some severe cases, both methods of noise reduction may be needed.

Nevertheless, traffic noise remains an issue both along the nation’s highways and in urban areas. For example, in recent reports on noise by the New York City Council on the Environment, traffic noise in the city was rated high on the list of noise complaints (Bronzaft and Van Ryzin, 2006, 2007).

Consumer Product Noise

Americans are exposed to noise from consumer products both indoors and out. Although manufacturers have made considerable progress in reducing noise from dishwashers and other appliances, these and other product noises can be a source of annoyance. Outdoors, noise from lawnmowers, leaf blowers, and other lawn and yard care equipment is pervasive. Snowmobiles and other off-road vehicles also create noise problems, especially in wilderness areas.

Industrial and Other Potentially Hazardous Noise Sources

High levels of noise can cause noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), and occupational exposure to hazardous noise is widespread (NIH, 2009a). In fact, NIHL is one of the most common occupation-related disorders in workplaces and in the U.S. military (IOM, 2005; Lang and Maling, 2007). The United States has no national surveillance program for reporting or monitoring the amount of compensation for costs related to treatment of occupational NIHL. As a result, no comprehensive data are available on the economic impact of noise exposure and hearing loss (NIOSH, 2001).

Children’s toys, music conveyed through earphones or similar devices, loud music at concerts, the recreational firing of weapons, and similar sources also can be sources of hazardous noise. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders has estimated that more than 30 million people in the United States are exposed to hazardous noise on a regular basis (NIH, 2009b).

The U.S. Department of Labor, through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), has promulgated regulations to limit exposures to hazardous noise; the limits established by these agencies are similar but not identical.

Although in theory engineering controls are the preferred way to reduce noise levels, personal hearing protective devices (HPDs) are widely used. EPA’s regulation for labeling the performance of HPDs is currently being updated.


Noise control engineering and technology include a wide variety of measurement techniques and standards, engineering designs, and manufacturing techniques to control noise emissions, engineering controls and HPDs to mitigate exposures to hazardous noise in the workplace and elsewhere, and analysis techniques for determining the impact of noise over large areas.

Noise is measured in decibels (dB), designated as dB(A) when A-frequency weighting5 is applied to the signal to make it more representative of the noise perceived by a listener. The basic quantities used in acoustics and noise control are described in considerable detail in Appendix A. Generally speaking, the level of noise (i.e., the sound pressure level in decibels) ranges from near 0 to 140 dB. For the most part, however, the public has little or no understanding of the decibel or A-frequency weighting and thus is unable to appreciate or participate in a discussion of quantitative levels of noise.

Efforts to control community noise frequently depend on controlling emissions of offensive noise from noise sources. For example, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Advanced Subsonic Transport Noise Reduction Program was a seven-year effort begun in 1994 to develop technology to reduce jet transport noise by 10 dB relative to 1992 levels. This program provided for reductions in engine source noise, improvements in nacelle acoustic treatments, reductions in noise generated by airframes, and modifications in the way aircraft operate in airport environs.


The decibel is a unit of sound level (see Appendix A for definition).


A-frequency weighting is defined in Appendix A.

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academy of Engineering. 2010. Technology for a Quieter America. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12928.

The NASA Glenn Research Center also significantly reduced aircraft fan noise using active noise control methodologies. By the end of 2001, when the program ended, most of its objectives had been met.

Other technologies address the noise source/receiver as a system. The FAA’s PARTNER (Partnership for Air Transportation Noise and Emissions Reduction) Program, founded in 2003, uses a systems approach to reducing noise from aircraft and its impact on airport environs. NASA and Transport Canada are cosponsors of PARTNER. The PARTNER Center of Excellence, located at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has undertaken the following projects: development of metrics to improve understanding of human response to aircraft noise; studies of land use around airports; analysis of the socioeconomic effects of noise and noise mitigation; cost-benefit analyses of technologies, operations, and policy alternatives for mitigating noise impacts; and development and testing of noise abatement flight procedures.

Technologies for controlling noise from road traffic are less well developed. In general, regulations to control noise emitted by vehicles have not been very effective in reducing community noise (Sandberg, 2001). Because many studies have shown that the major source of noise is the interaction between tires and road surfaces, several states have initiated programs to study how much noise reduction could be achieved by porous road surfaces (see Chapters 5 and 7).

A variety of methods can be used to control noise from rail-bound vehicles. If the United States embarks on an expansion of the rail system, planning for noise control, prediction tools, and the application of noise control technologies will become increasingly important (see Chapter 5).


Noise control engineering can affect manufacturing competitiveness because, as the market for many industrial and consumer products becomes more globalized, U.S.-based firms must compete in both domestic and foreign markets. The latter are subject to noise standards and regulations that can impact competitiveness in two ways: (1) they can impose additional costs on U.S. manufacturers who want to enter foreign markets and (2) competitors’ products that meet the more rigorous noise limits may enter the U.S. market with a competitive advantage over domestic producers. This advantage is evidenced in a growing trend by consumers who identify low noise as a desirable feature. In a 1999 survey, for example, 84 percent of consumers said that “ultraquiet” operation was an important feature of a dishwasher (KBDN, 1999).


As a practical matter, especially when large expenditures of public funds are involved, solutions to noise-related challenges must have a positive benefit for quality of life, and that benefit must be considered worth the cost of reducing the impact of noise. Therefore, the study committee has attempted to determine how economic analysis techniques could inform decisions about allocating scarce resources to achieving the greatest aggregate benefit for society.

In the case of environmental policy, using resources in a socially optimal way may mean limiting how one entity can use its resources in order to protect another entity from the consequences (e.g., a curfew on noisy flights from certain airports places limits on airlines, and ultimately on travelers, to protect people who live around the airports). Alternatively, it may mean deciding to invest public resources to mitigate the undesirable effects of others’ activities (e.g., installing pavements that reduce traffic noise).

In both cases the study committee attempts to clarify the trade-offs involved. Chapter 7 provides an overview of cost-benefit analyses, a brief description of how they affect FAA decisions, and attempts to reduce tire/road noise on the nation’s highways. The emphasis is on the need for cost-benefit analysis with respect to highway traffic noise.


For many years the federal government has been involved with controlling noise, as have the European Union and the governments of most other industrialized nations. In the United States the control of occupational noise is the responsibility of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Within DOL, OSHA and MSHA have regulatory authority with respect to noise. Under the Noise Control Act of 1972 and subsequent legislation, EPA was made responsible for addressing noise issues that included both regulatory authority and research. Activities were carried out through the Office of Noise Abatement and Control (ONAC). Funding for ONAC was discontinued in 1982, but many EPA responsibilities with respect to noise are still in the U.S. Code. The role of EPA is described in more detail in Chapter 8.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Federal Housing Administration, the General Services Administration, and other federal government departments and agencies have promulgated policies and regulations for site selection for federally subsidized housing and for exterior building construction to meet minimum acoustical standards. The federal government also sets standards for noise in federal office buildings and leased spaces in commercially owned buildings used by federal agencies.

The U.S. Department of Transportation and its modal agencies (FAA, FHWA, Federal Railroad Administration, and Federal Transit Administration), have broad regulatory authority regarding noise issues. The U.S. Department of Defense and all of the armed services have noise programs and regulate noise. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and NASA all have noise programs related to the mission of each agency. In addition, the National Park

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academy of Engineering. 2010. Technology for a Quieter America. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12928.

Service addresses noise issues in national parks and has the authority to both set noise limits and do research. However, noise-related activities by federal agencies are not well coordinated. (More details can be found in Chapter 8.) Reducing environmental noise will require that the development and support of noise control technologies be shared among government agencies and industry.

State and local governments can promulgate noise regulations as long as they do not conflict with federal government regulations. EPA still has some noise emission regulations “on the books” and has broad powers with respect to interstate commerce. Despite this, many states and municipalities have no noise regulations at all. Others have regulations, but they are poorly written or outdated. According to Hanson (2002), states and local municipalities would welcome better information and guidance, as well as financial and technical support, in enacting reasonable and effective environmental noise regulations.


Although acoustics—the science of sound—has a long history (Rossing, 2007), noise control engineering is a relatively new field. Noise problems emerged after World War II, with the building of the interstate highway system, the advent of jet airplanes, and the postwar building boom. MIT was a pioneer in noise control education (in the departments of aeronautics, architecture, electrical engineering, and physics), but even today not a single university in the United States has a department (or academic unit), nor is there a widely agreed-on curriculum, for noise control engineering.

Because noise control engineering is inherently a multidisciplinary field, noise control engineers must be knowledgeable in several subjects, including acoustics, aerodynamics, mechanical vibration, measurement, electronics, physiology, psychology, statistics, physics, and architecture. Today the demand for such individuals far exceeds the supply. Meeting this demand will require an emphasis on noise control engineering in the undergraduate curriculum as well as well-funded graduate programs.

The Public

Although people are quick to inform public officials when they are inconvenienced or oppressed by noise, they are poorly informed about how, or even if, noise can be mitigated in practical, cost-effective ways. It would be beneficial for people to have a better understanding of, for example, how noise is measured, so they could participate in informed debate on problems that affect them and recognize when sound pressure levels are likely to cause permanent hearing damage. Two studies in the 1990s included information related to public awareness of noise problems (ASHA, 1991; OECD, 1991); the Internet can also provide a great deal of information. Many organizations that provide public information are identified in this report, and the committee suggests how government might play a larger role in providing information to the public.


All of these subjects are discussed in more detail in the following chapters of this report. In Chapter 11, findings are summarized, and a number of recommendations are given that the study committee believes will lead to the reduction of noise in the United States.

The decibel and other terms used in acoustics to describe noise are briefly described in Appendix A. A more complete description can be found in handbooks on acoustics and noise control, such as Rossing (2007), Vér and Beranek (2006), and Crocker (2007).

Sources of the many technical articles and Internet resources cited in this report include professional society journals and conference proceedings. Several are from a 2007 special issue of The Bridge (NAE, 2007). Others are from Noise Control Engineering Journal and the proceedings of national conferences (NOISE-CON) and international congresses (INTER-NOISE). Referenced papers from these sources are available on the Internet ( and through the Scitation platform hosted by the American Institute of Physics ( and maintained by the Institute of Noise Control Engineering of the USA ( There are also references to papers published in Noise/News International (NNI), and these are available on the NNI website, Reports from the International Institute of Noise Control Engineering are available on its website,


ASHA (American Speech Language-Hearing Association). 1991. Combatting Noise in the 90s: A National Strategy for the United States. Rockville, MD: American Speech Language-Hearing Association. Available online at

Bronzaft, A., and Van Ryzin, G. 2006. Neighborhood Noise and Its Consequences: A Survey in Collaboration with the Council on the Environment of New York City. Special Report #9. New York: Council on the Environment. Available online at

Bronzaft, A., and G. Van Ryzin. 2007. Neighborhood Noise and Its Consequences: Implications for Tracking Effectiveness of the NYC Revised Noise Code. Special Report #14. New York: Council on the Environment. Available online at

Crocker, M.J., ed. 2007. Handbook of Noise and Vibration Control. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). 1974. Information on Levels of Environmental Noise Requisite to Protect Public Health and Welfare with an Adequate Margin of Safety. Document 550/9-74-004. Available online at

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academy of Engineering. 2010. Technology for a Quieter America. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12928.

FHWA (Federal Highway Administration). 2009. Summary of Noise Barriers Constructed by December 31, 2004. Available online at

GAO (Government Accountability Office). 2000. Aviation and the Environment: Results from a Survey of the Nation’s 50 Busiest Commercial Service Airports. GAO/RCED-00-222. Available online at

GAO. 2001. Aviation and the Environment: Transition to Quieter Aircraft Occurred as Planned, but Concerns About Noise Persist. GAO-01-1053. Available online at

Hanson, C.E. 2002. The Roles of State and Local Government Agencies in Noise Abatement and Control. Proceedings of INTER-NOISE 02, The 2002 International Congress and Exposition on Noise Control Engineering, Dearborn, MI, August 19–21. Available online at

IOM (Institute of Medicine). 2005. Noise and Military Service: Implications for Hearing Loss and Tinnitus. L.E. Humes, L.M. Joellenbeck, and J.S. Durch, eds. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

KBDN (Kitchen and Bath Design News). 1999. New Survey Pinpoints Dishwasher Usage Trends. Available online at$1398.

Lang, W.W., and G.C. Maling. 2007. Noise as a technological and policy challenge. The Bridge 37(3):4–10.

Miller, N.P. 2003. Transportation Noise and Recreational Lands. Proceedings of INTER-NOISE 2002, Dearborn, MI, August 19–21, 2002.

NAE (National Academy of Engineering). 2007. Special Issue on Noise Engineering. The Bridge 37(3).

NIH (National Institutes of Health). 2009a. Noise Induced Hearing Loss. Available online at

NIH. 2009b. Statistics on Noise Induced Hearing Loss. Available online at

NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health). 2001. Work-Related Hearing Loss. DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2001-103. Cincinnati, OH: NIOSH.

OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development). 1991. Fighting Noise in the 90s. Paris: OECD.

PARTNER (Partnership for Air Transportation Noise and Emissions Reduction). 2004. Report to Congress: Aviation and the Environment, A National Vision Statement, Framework for Goals and Recommended Actions. Available online at

Rossing, T. 2007. Springer Handbook of Acoustics. New York: Springer Science+Business Media LLC.

Sandberg, U. 2001. Noise Emissions of Road Vehicles—Effectiveness of Regulations. Final Report from the Working Party on Noise Emissions of Road Vehicles. International Institute of Noise Control Engineering. Available online at

Schultz, T.J. 1978. Synthesis of social surveys on noise annoyance. Journal of the Acoustic Society of America 64(1):377–405.

Vér, I.L., and L.L. Beranek, eds. 2006. Basic Acoustical Quantities: Levels and Decibels. Chapter 1 in Noise and Vibration Control Engineering. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Waitz, I., J. Bernhard, and C.E. Hanson. 2007. Challenges and promises in mitigating transportation noise. The Bridge 37(3):25–32.

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academy of Engineering. 2010. Technology for a Quieter America. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12928.
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Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academy of Engineering. 2010. Technology for a Quieter America. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12928.
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Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academy of Engineering. 2010. Technology for a Quieter America. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12928.
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Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academy of Engineering. 2010. Technology for a Quieter America. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12928.
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Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academy of Engineering. 2010. Technology for a Quieter America. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12928.
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Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Academy of Engineering. 2010. Technology for a Quieter America. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/12928.
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Exposure to noise at home, at work, while traveling, and during leisure activities is a fact of life for all Americans. At times noise can be loud enough to damage hearing, and at lower levels it can disrupt normal living, affect sleep patterns, affect our ability to concentrate at work, interfere with outdoor recreational activities, and, in some cases, interfere with communications and even cause accidents. Clearly, exposure to excessive noise can affect our quality of life.

As the population of the United States and, indeed, the world increases and developing countries become more industrialized, problems of noise are likely to become more pervasive and lower the quality of life for everyone. Efforts to manage noise exposures, to design quieter buildings, products, equipment, and transportation vehicles, and to provide a regulatory environment that facilitates adequate, cost-effective, sustainable noise controls require our immediate attention.

Technology for a Quieter America looks at the most commonly identified sources of noise, how they are characterized, and efforts that have been made to reduce noise emissions and experiences. The book also reviews the standards and regulations that govern noise levels and the federal, state, and local agencies that regulate noise for the benefit, safety, and wellness of society at large. In addition, it presents the cost-benefit trade-offs between efforts to mitigate noise and the improvements they achieve, information sources available to the public on the dimensions of noise problems and their mitigation, and the need to educate professionals who can deal with these issues.

Noise emissions are an issue in industry, in communities, in buildings, and during leisure activities. As such, Technology for a Quieter America will appeal to a wide range of stakeholders: the engineering community; the public; government at the federal, state, and local levels; private industry; labor unions; and nonprofit organizations. Implementation of the recommendations in Technology for a Quieter America will result in reduction of the noise levels to which Americans are exposed and will improve the ability of American industry to compete in world markets paying increasing attention to the noise emissions of products.

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