Plane noise linked to heart disease
Two recent studies published in BMJ, one from Boston and the other from London, have found that people exposed to higher levels of airport noise have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Previous studies have determined that people living near airports experience psychological and physiological effects from the high noise levels, including disturbed sleep, nervousness, annoyance and higher blood pressure.
The Boston study analyzed data from the Medicare program, which encompassed approximately six million people aged 65 and over living near 89 airports. Researchers superimposed contours of aircraft noise levels provided by the Federal Aviation Administration over 2,218 zip codes around airports. All the study participants were within the 45-decibel contour of the airports.
The scientists found that on average, those people living with 10 decibel higher aircraft noise experienced a 3.5 percent increase in hospital visits for cardiovascular disease. They also found that people exposed to more than 55 decibels experienced the highest rate of hospital admissions for cardiovascular disease.
The London study was similar, but focused on the districts and boroughs surrounding Heathrow Airport. Results of this study showed a link between aircraft noise and stroke, which could be related to high blood pressure linked to the noise.
The bottom line: Researchers from both teams concluded that aircraft noise has a direct impact on health.