Indicator noise

Subjective noise pollution

Noise causes stress and is harmful to health. However, whether someone perceives noise as disturbing does not depend solely on the decibel level. A broad variety of other factors such as type of noise, personal attitude, time of day, state of health, age, etc., also play a role. These individual factors can only be reflected to a certain degree in objective exposure limit levels.

Assessment of the state
poor poor
Assessment of the trend
negative negative
People who feel disturbed by road noise during the day 2019: 31 People who feel disturbed by road noise during the day 2015: 24 People who feel disturbed by road noise during the day 2011: 23

Data for the graph: Excel
Source: FSO

In 2019, 31% of people felt disturbed or greatly disturbed by traffic noise when at home with an open window. This is significantly more people than in 2015, which is why the development is assessed negatively.

Additional measures aimed at reducing exposure to noise are required in towns and cities in particular, since here the proportion of people subjectively exposed to noise is around 34%. In view of the potential harm to health and the reduction in the quality of life that go hand in hand with exposure to noise, this figure has to be regarded as much too high.

International comparison

As the survey was not carried out in this form in any other country, the indicator is not internationally comparable.


The data are based on a survey „Wahrnehmung von Umweltqualität und Umweltverhalten“ carried out by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO). It was conducted by telephone and encompassed a broad variety of aspects of environmental pollution, awareness of the environment, ecologically-relevant behaviour and lifestyle. The random sample (N=3030) complies with the principle of representativeness.

This indicator includes all those surveyed who felt rather disturbed or greatly disturbed by traffic noise at home with a window open (answers 3 and 4 on a scale of 1: "not at all disturbed" to 5: "greatly disturbed").

Basis for assessment of the trend
Targeted trend Initial value Final value Variation in % Observed trend Assessment
Decrease 2011 2019 34.78% Growth negative
Last updated on: 29.01.2020

Further information




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