Older people exposed to aircraft noise, especially at high levels, may face increased risk of being hospitalized for cardiovascular disease, according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH). Researchers found that, on average, zip codes with 10-decibel higher aircraft noise had a 3.5% higher cardiovascular hospital admission rate.
It is the first major study to estimate the association between residential exposure to aircraft noise and cardiovascular hospitalizations, using data on the nationally representative U.S. population age 65 and older and noise data from airports across the country.
“It was surprising to find that living close to an airport, and therefore being exposed to aircraft noise, can adversely affect your cardiovascular health, even beyond exposure to air pollution and traffic noise,” said senior author Francesca Dominici, professor of biostatistics and associate dean of information technology at HSPH.
The study and accompanying video appear online October 8, 2013 in BMJ (British Medical Journal).