According to a new study, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) have determined that living near airports can have extreme consequences. Not only can the constant noise bombardment damage hearing, it now seems that it can trigger cardiovascular disease, particularly in the elderly.
“There’ve been a number of studies that have looked at how aircraft noise can affect things like blood pressure or stress or sleep deprivation, and all these things can influence cardiovascular health, so we were interested in finding out if there was any association between it and cardiovascular hospitalization,” explained Jonathan Levy, a professor of environmental health at BUSPH and adjunct professor of environmental health at HSPH, who co-authored the study with Francesca Dominici, professor of biostatics and associate dean of information technology at HSPH.
The pair used information gathered by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) concerning aircraft noise emitted from 89 airports in the United States and compared it with additional data on cardiovascular-related hospitalization rates of around 6 million individuals on Medicare living close to these airports.
“We included anyone whose noise exposure was above 45 decibels from the airport itself, including noise from larger airports extended over a larger geographic region and as well as smaller airports extended over a smaller region. As it turned out, people living in zip codes that experienced aircraft noise 10 decibels higher than average had a 3.5% higher cardiovascular hospital admission rate. There was some evidence that it was even more significant where the noise exposure was above 55 decibels,” he stated.
A similar study released by the Imperial College of London also discovered an increased risk of stroke, coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease among the 3.6 million residents living near Heathrow airport in London.
In the meantime, Levy told Fox News that , “Our study was not meant to evaluate interventions, but I think there are clearly things that can be done by the FAA to reduce exposures to aircraft noise, as well as soundproofing homes that are near to airports which could benefit public health."