Are the noise levels acceptable in a built environment like Hong Kong?

Wai Ming To, Cheuk Ming Mak, Wai Leung Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Governments all over the world have enacted environmental noise directives and noise control ordinances/acts to protect tranquility in residential areas. However, there is a lack of literature on the evaluation of whether the Acceptable Noise Levels (ANLs) stipulated in the directive/ordinance/act are actually achievable. The study aimed at measuring outdoor environmental noise levels in Hong Kong and identifying whether the measured noise levels are lower than the stipulated ANLs at 20 categories of residential areas. Data were gathered from a territory-wide noise survey. Outdoor noise measurements were conducted at 203 residential premises in urban areas, low-density residential areas, rural areas, and other areas. In total, 366 daytime hourly Leq outdoor noise levels, 362 nighttime hourly Leq outdoor noise levels, and 20 sets of daily, that is, 24 Leq,1-h outdoor noise levels were recorded. The mean daytime Leq,1-h values ranged 54.4-70.8 dBA, while the mean nighttime Leq,1-h values ranged 52.6-67.9 dBA. When the measured noise levels were compared with the stipulated ANLs, only three out of the 20 categories of areas had outdoor noise levels below ANLs during daytime. All other areas (and all areas during nighttime) were found to have outdoor noise levels at or above ANLs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-439
Number of pages11
JournalNoise and Health
Issue number79
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015


  • Acceptable noise levels (ANLs)
  • environmental noise survey
  • noise exposure
  • zoning


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