Noise in NYC
Big cities like NYC are full of great sights, sounds … and noises.
Ambient noise is the noise from traffic, construction, industrial or recreation activities, animals, or people’s voices, that someone doesn’t want to hear. Too much ambient noise can cause stress, higher blood pressure, and interference with sleep.
To gain a better understanding of ambient noise disturbance among all New Yorkers, a recent Community Health Survey asked adults about how often they were disrupted by noise within the previous three months and why. Here’s what we learned:
- 4 in 10 New Yorkers reported having activities disrupted by noise from outside their homes at least once in the previous 3 months.
- 3 in 4 of New Yorkers experiencing frequent noise disruptions —about 828,000 New Yorkers—reported noise disruption 7 or more times per week.
- More than half of all those reporting any noise disruption said they were disturbed by noise coming from traffic – noise from cars, trucks, or other vehicles, excluding emergency sirens – and about half said neighbors and emergency sirens caused their noise disruption.
NYC also tracks noise complaints through its 311 calling system. Of the 1,783,133 complaints to the 311 call system in 2009:
- 111,730 (6%) of 311 calls were noise-related.
- More than half of 311 noise complaints were related to noise from loud music and parties (34%) or other social environment causes (24%) such as noise from neighbors, loud talking, loud TV, alarms going off, ice cream trucks, or noise from ventilation units.
- 1 out of 5 noise calls to 311 were to complain about traffic or transportation noise.
- 311 complaint data show that residents of Manhattan disproportionally called about noise-related complaints in 2009.
- Central Harlem-Morningside Heights, Chelsea-Village, and Union Square-Lower Manhattan were among the top five communities with the highest 311 noise-related calls rates as well as the highest prevalence of noise disruption, as reported to the Community Health Survey.
Want to learn more? Check out our new report for more NYC noise facts.