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Noise Health. 2011 May-Jun;13(52):229-33. doi: 10.4103/1463-1741.80159.

Cardiovascular effects of environmental noise: research in the United Kingdom.

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Queen Mary University of London, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Centre for Psychiatry, Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Charterhouse Square, London EC1M 6BQ, United Kingdom.


Although the auditory effects of noise on humans have been established, the non-auditory effects are not so well established. The emerging links between noise and cardiovascular disease (CVD) have potentially important implications on public health and policy. In the United Kingdom (UK), noise from transport is a problem, where more than half of the population is exposed to more than the recommended maximum day-time noise level and just under three-quarters of the population live in areas where the recommended night-time noise level is exceeded. This review focuses on findings from studies conducted in the UK that examined environmental noise and cardiovascular disease. There were statistically no significant associations between road traffic noise and incident ischemic heart disease in the Caerphilly and Speedwell studies, but there was a suggestion of effects when modifying factors such as length of residence, room orientation, and window opening were taken into account. In a sample stratified by pre-existing disease a strongly increased odds of incident ischemic heart disease for the highest annoyance category was found compared to the lowest among men without pre-existing disease (OR = 2.45, 95%1.13 - 5.31), which was not found in men with pre-existing disease. In the Hypertension and exposure to noise near airports (HYENA) study, night time aircraft noise exposure (L night ) was associated with an increased risk of hypertension, in fully adjusted analyses. A 10-dB increase in aircraft noise exposure was associated with an odds ratio of 1.14 (95%CI, 1.01 - 1.29). Aircraft noise was not consistently related to raised systolic blood pressure in children in the road traffic and aircraft noise exposure and children's cognition and health (RANCH) study. There is some evidence of an association among environmental noise exposure and hypertension and ischemic heart disease in the UK studies; further studies are required to explore gender differences, the effects of day and night time exposure, and exposure modifying factors.

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