Living near busy airports may up the risk of developing a cardiovascular disease, new findings suggest.
According the findings of a new study, people who live in the vicinity of busy airports and are chronically exposed to loud aircraft noise are at an increased risk of suffering from a stroke and developing cardiovascular disease.
To check if the continuous barrage of noise caused due to taking off and landing of airplanes impairs health, researchers embarked on two separate studies.
In the UK study, the researchers looked at the data on airport related noise pollution and hospital admissions from 2001 to 2005 around London’s Heathrow airport. While 12 locations were near Heathrow airport, 9 were further districts to the west of London.
Information on levels of aircraft noise was obtained from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
Researchers found that areas with higher levels of aircraft noise had higher number of patients hospitalized for stroke, coronary heart disease, and cardiovascular disease.
For the US study, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and Boston University School of Public Health assessed health data of over 6 million Americans aged 65 and above. The subjects lived near 89 U.S. airports.
The researchers found that people exposed to the highest aircraft noise levels, above 55 decibel dB, were most likely to be hospitalized for heart disease.
Furthermore, every 10 dB increase levels of aircraft noise, the risk of cardiovascular related hospital admission rate rose by 3.5 percent.
Stephen Stansfeld, a professor at Queen Mary University of London not involved in either research but provided a commentary on their findings, said the results suggested that “aircraft noise exposure is not just a cause of annoyance, sleep disturbance, and reduced quality of life but may also increase sickness and death from heart disease.”
“The results imply that the sitting at airports and consequent exposure to aircraft noise may have direct effects on the health of the surrounding population. Planners need to take this into account when expanding airports in heavily populated areas or planning new airports,” researchers marked.
The findings of the study appear in online in the British Medical Journal.