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Environ Health. 2010 Jun 1;9:25. doi: 10.1186/1476-069X-9-25.

Neurobehavioral effects of transportation noise in primary schoolchildren: a cross-sectional study.

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  • 1National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Centre for Environmental Health Research, Bilthoven, The Netherlands.



Due to shortcomings in the design, no source-specific exposure-effect relations are as yet available describing the effects of noise on children's cognitive performance. This paper reports on a study investigating the effects of aircraft and road traffic noise exposure on the cognitive performance of primary schoolchildren in both the home and the school setting.


Participants were 553 children (age 9-11 years) attending 24 primary schools around Schiphol Amsterdam Airport. Cognitive performance was measured by the Neurobehavioral Evaluation System (NES), and a set of paper-and-pencil tests. Multilevel regression analyses were applied to estimate the association between noise exposure and cognitive performance, accounting for demographic and school related confounders.


Effects of school noise exposure were observed in the more difficult parts of the Switching Attention Test (SAT): children attending schools with higher road or aircraft noise levels made significantly more errors. The correlational pattern and factor structure of the data indicate that the coherence between the neurobehavioral tests and paper-and-pencil tests is high.


Based on this study and previous scientific literature it can be concluded that performance on simple tasks is less susceptible to the effects of noise than performance on more complex tasks.

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