Country capitals Cairo, Paris, Beijing and Delhi represent four out of the five cities with the 10 highest scores for noise pollution.
Based on World Health Organization (WHO) data, Guangzhou ranks as the overall noisiest city on the planet. Guangzhou is a city in southern China home to 11.5 million residents.
Yet India’s national capital region Delhi is characterized by the greatest average hearing loss of 19.34 years, according to the Worldwide Hearing Index from Mimi Hearing Technologies GmbH.
Noise pollution and related hearing loss is a growing global problem. The WHO asserts that over five percent of the world’s population–360 million people–have incapacitating hearing loss.
Exposure to excessive noise is one of the major causes for hearing loss and is often associated with stress-related illnesses.
Top 10 Nosiest Capital Cities Ranked
Highlighted below are the ten capital cities scoring the highest overall on a World Health Organization study on global noise pollution. Shown within brackets is the relative ranking for each capital when all 50 major cities are compared.
- Cairo, Egypt: 0.81 (2nd place overall)
- Paris, France: 0.75 (3rd place)
- Beijing, China: 0.74 (4th place)
- Delhi, India: 0.72 (5th place)
- Mexico City, Mexico: 0.65 (11th place)
- Moscow, Russia: 0.6 (16th place)
- Buenos Aires, Argentina: 0.59 (17th place)
- Rome, Italy: 0.58 (20th place)
- Singapore: 0.5 (22nd place)
- Dubai, United Arab Emirates: 0.49 (23rd place)
Honorable mention goes to the United Arab Emirates’ capital city Dubai which earned 24th place overall. London, England finished 26th followed by Taipei, Taiwan and Berlin, Germany in 27th and 31st place respectively.
Population density would appear to a major factor behind the noise pollution scores. For instance, all four of the noisiest capital cities have high population densities.
Cairo’s population density is 46,800 people per square mile (18,100 per square kilometer). Beijing’s population density is 14,300 people per square mile (5,500 per square kilometer). For Paris, population density is 55,700 people per square mile (21,500 per square kilometer). In India, Delhi’s population density is the most intense of the four global capital cities at 66,100 people per square mile (25,500 per square kilometer).
Note on American Cities
Although Washington, D.C. failed to rank among the world’s top 20 noisiest cities, four other American cities did: Los Angeles (10th place), San Francisco (13th place), Chicago (15th place) and bustling New York City (20th place).
Mimi Hearing Technologies GmbH, The Worldwide Hearing Index. Accessed on March 6, 2017
Wikipedia, Guangzhou. Accessed on March 6, 2017
Wikipedia, List of cities by population density. Accessed on March 6, 2017
World Health Organization, Fact Sheet: Deafness and hearing loss. Accessed on March 6, 2017