A couple of studies have revealed an association between aircraft noise and increased rates for cardiovascular disease which is causing concern for people living near airports.
Research conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health and Boston University found that residents who were exposed to the most airplane noise were likelier to require hospitalisation for cardiac disease.
The researchers looked at data from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) involving aircraft noise from 89 U.S airports and collected data on cardiovascular-related hospitalisation rates for 6 million people on medicare who lived close to airports.
The study showed an association between aircraft noise exposure and cardiovascular disease and hospital admissions, even when controlling for major risk factors. Residents living in areas in which higher aircraft noise occurred- ten decibels higher than average- experienced a 3.5% greater hospital admission rate for cardiovascular disease. There was some evidence that it was even more significant where the noise exposure was above 55 decibels.
A second research study revealed increased stroke and heart disease rates tied to people who lived near London’s Heathrow Airport. Heathrow is considered the busiest travel hub in Europe. The study was conducted by researchers from The Imperial College of London and their research found an increased risk of stroke, coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease in the 3.6 million residents who lived near London’s Heathrow Airport.
The researchers examined 12 London boroughs and 9 districts west of London and used 2001 Aviation Authority aircraft noise models and hospital admission data from 2001 to 2005. All major resident risk factors were considered.
About 2% lived in the area with the highest levels of noise – 63 decibels during the day and more than 55 decibels at night which the National Institute of Health (NIH) classifies within the range of laughter or normal conversation. People living in the 63 decibel plus areas experienced a 24% increased likelihood of requiring hospitalisation for stroke and a 14% increased likelihood of hospitalisation for cardiovascular disease.
Speaking today about the worrying results of the studies Liam Moloney, a Naas based healthcare Solicitor said “the results of these studies supports the notion that an airports location to residents might impact both their quality of life and their health. The siting of airports and the consequent exposure to loud aircraft noise clearly has direct effect on the health of the surrounding population. Planners need to take this into account when airports are being considered for expansion or where new airports are being planned.”