Aviation-Related Noise Effects on the Elderly

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Until recently, no major US study had estimated the association between long-term exposure to noise and cardiovascular outcomes while accounting for the potential confounding from air pollution and socioeconomic determinants of health. This project linked national data on Medicare enrollees and noise contours surrounding each of 89 airports to evaluate the relationship between aviation-related noise and hospital admissions for cardiovascular disease. A variety of exposure metrics for noise were constructed and these metrics were linked with zip code-level data on air pollution exposures, population demographics, socioeconomic factors, and other individual-level and zip code-level covariates. Bayesian hierarchical models were constructed to estimate health risks associated with noise in the vicinity of each airport, capturing health impacts in aggregate and by location. These models were used to consider the health effects of aircraft noise exposure on hospital admissions for cardiovascular disease in total and for multiple specific endpoints. Despite limitations related to potential misclassification of exposure, there was a statistically significant association between exposure to aircraft noise and risk of hospitalization for cardiovascular diseases among Medicare enrollees.


•    The first national-scale investigation of health impacts of airport noise in the US.
•    Contribution to the body of knowledge regarding potential health impacts of aircraft noise.
•    Directions for future investigations that are warranted

Participating universities

Boston University School of Public Health
Harvard School of Public Health

Lead investigators

Jonathan I. Levy, Boston University School of Public Health, jonlevy@bu.edu
Francesca Dominici, Harvard School of Public Health, fdominic@hsph.harvard.edu

FAA program manager

Natalia Sizov natalia.sizov@faa.gov


•    Correia A, Peters JL, Levy JI, Melly S, Dominici F. Residential exposure to aircraft noise and hospital admissions for cardiovascular diseases: multi-airport retrospective study. British Medical Journal. 2013; 347:f5561