Soundscapes, human restoration and quality of life

Invited paper

Irene Van Kamp

RIVM

Wednesday 3 june, 2015, 13:40 - 14:00

0.6 Madrid (49)

Abstract:
There is increasing interest in the idea that the acoustic environment may affect human well-being, not only at the high levels of exposure considered in noise management, and not only where the sounds result in human discomfort, but also where the acoustic environment is pleasant and of high quality. In this paper we explore the notion that access to high quality acoustic environments may have a role in well-being, quality of life, and environmental health. This can be intrinsically, or by way of mediation for people otherwise exposed to adverse environments, through some restorative and health and wellbeing promoting mechanism(s). The limited literature available on soundscapes and restoration, and possible models for their interconnection, is discussed. This review necessarily touches on other literatures that examine links between, on the one hand, landscape, green space, open space, countryside and recreation and, on the other, well-being, quality of life, and environmental health. Monetarisation of health and wellbeing effects of high acoustic quality will also be addressed. We suggest where further work is needed, even at the conceptual level, to increase our understanding of relationships between soundscape and health.

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