Top 10 Noisiest Cities in the World to Live

loudest cities in the world
February 21, 2018

What are the loudest cities in the world? If you live in a big city, you probably think yours should make the list of the world’s loudest cities. Anyone who lives in a city knows they can be loud places to live — between the traffic, construction and people bustling about, noise pollution is almost always a harsh reality.

But some places, believe it are not, are much worse than others when it comes to city noise. Here then, are the noisiest cities in the world.

1. Karachi, Pakistan

With 15 million residents, it’s not surprising that this Pakistan city is one of the world’s loudest cities. Much of the noise can be attributed to Karachi’s traffic, which regularly produces sound in the neighborhood of 90 decibels — well above the healthy range for hearing sound.

2. Shanghai, China

Shanghai traffic only gets up to about 71 decibels, but overall noise can reach 85 decibels or higher. With a massive 24 million people in the city, along with the Chinese affinity for firecrackers, it’s not surprising that noise pollution is such a problem.

3. Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires makes the list largely due to its economy, which is largely centered around motor vehicle construction, and which involves extremely loud metalwork. Many areas in the city routinely crack the 85-decibel mark.

4. New York, New York

A city with over eight million residents and over 50 million tourists a year is bound to be loud! While New York City’s decibel level often hovers around a “mere” 70 decibels, high-traffic times with lots of loud cabs, construction projects, car alarms and the like can push the decibel level to 90-dB and beyond.

5. Madrid, Spain

Madrid isn’t as big as some of these other cities, but they make up for it with their loud nightlife, which produces a tremendous amount of loud noise that the revelers don’t seem to feel any need to temper. 45 decibels don’t seem like much, but try sleeping through it at 2am, every single morning.

 6. Tokyo, Japan

The Tokyo metropolitan area is the most populous in the world, with 35 million people. That’s a lot of noise! Most of Tokyo’s extreme noise pollution comes from construction work. Decibel levels in some areas can reach 90-dB or more.

7. Delhi, India

Another area where a high population leads to serious noise pollution. Again, traffic is a big culprit, and the government seems to have few answers for a city that can reach up to 85 decibels on a regular basis.

8. Cairo, Egypt

Cairo is the real city that never sleeps, and the noise pollution is so bad that it’s actually been linked to multiple deaths. Imagine waking up at 7:30am to 90 decibels of sound. Welcome to Cairo!

9. Kolkata, India

Kolkata is a very factory-heavy environment, which is one reason why this is one of the loudest cities in the world. Another reason is extremely loud firecracker celebrations, which can shoot the noise level to over 100 decibels.

10. Mumbai, India

India weighs in with yet another city on our list, this time its most famous city, with almost 13 million people. Thanks to the major traffic and serious overpopulation, this is considered the noisiest city in the world with sound levels that can top over 100 decibels.

Dealing With Noisy City Life

You don’t have to live in the noisiest city in the world to want a little peace and quiet. To find out how to carve a little sanctuary for yourself in your loud city environment, check out the Soundproof Cow Blog for tips on things like window soundproofing, and head over to the soundproofing materials page now to see which products would be right for you and your home.

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About Kellen Beaver

Soundproof Cow Representative Kellen

Kellen has been a member of the sales team for over a decade. Prior to delving into the soundproofing realm, he was a jack of all trades in the service industry, working both front and back of the house jobs to various degrees. This diversity in experience makes it easy to relate to the needs of a large customer base. He understands noisy environments as well as the importance of aesthetics in a space. Adding something that doesn’t fit the look can be intrusive, so knowing that acoustical needs must fit the interior design is something he’s become very well-versed in. Most of this planning comes from working with both the owner/operators as well as their design team and architects. He has been able to adapt his knowledge in the restaurant industry into projects involving schools, office buildings and large medical facilities when the situation calls for it.