Airplane Noise, High Blood Pressure Linked

Dec. 27, 2001
A new study that links airplane noise and high blood pressure could have widespread impact not only for people living near airports, but for workers exposed to high levels of occupational noise.

As anyone who has ever lived near an airport can attest, the noise from the planes taking off and landing can be annoying. But did you know it might also be unhealthy?

The findings of a group of Swedish researchers could have widespread impact not only for people living near airports, but for workers exposed to high levels of occupational noise.

The researchers examined two groups of people - ages 19 to 80 - one group who lived near to the Stockholm Arlanda Airport and one group who lived farther away from the flight path. Dr. Mats Rosenlund and his colleagues at the Department of Environmental Health in Stockholm made a surprising discovery. The study participants living close to the airport had blood pressure as much as 80 percent higher than those participants living the farthest away.

Rosenlund and his team compared 266 people living near the airport with 2,693 other Stockholm residents. The participants filled out a questionnaire that examined their diet, amount of exercise and history of smoking. Participants were asked if they had ever received a diagnosis of high blood pressure from a doctor.

In an article written for the December issue of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the researchers reported that people exposed to average aircraft noise levels of 55 decibels or higher were 60 percent more likely to report having been diagnosed with high blood pressure. Those exposed to more than 72 decibels of noise reported an 80 percent more likely to report they had high blood pressure.

Of the group living farther away from the airport, 14 percent reported they had high blood pressure, compared with 20 percent of those living near the airport who regularly faced noise levels of 55 decibels or higher.

The findings could be significant for workers who are exposed to loud noise. Not only could their hearing be in danger, but their hearts as well. The researchers suggest that there is a correlation between loud noise and high blood pressure, which in turn suggests that loud noise could increase heart disease risk.

by Sandy Smith ([email protected])

About the Author

EHS Today Staff

EHS Today's editorial staff includes:

Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

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