Airplane noise linked to increased heart health hospitalizations

Research explores cardiovascular hospitalizations and deaths near Heathrow airport.


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Aircraft noise causes discomfort and sleep disruption, and there is some evidence of a link between long-term exposure and cardiovascular disease (CVD).

According to a new study conducted by Imperial College London and the University of Leicester, the sound of airplanes passing overhead late at night is associated with a modest increase in hospital admissions for heart-related disorders the next day. 

Professor Marta Blangiardo, School of Public Health, said, “Airplane noise, particularly late at night and in the early hours, potentially increases risk in cardiovascular hospitalizations.”

Researchers used hospital admissions and death data and environmental modeling to examine short-term links between aircraft noise and cardiovascular events the next day in a population of 6.3 million people living near Heathrow Airport between 2014 and 2018. 

They discovered that a 10-decibel increase in noise the night before and early in the morning was connected with a slight increase in risk for all cardiovascular disease admissions, especially in males over 65 and persons of Black ancestry. There was no indication of a link between airplane noise and cardiovascular disease fatalities.

Late night and early hour airplane noise may disrupt sleep in residents, briefly increasing blood pressure and activating the sympathetic nervous system, potentially increasing the risk of cardiovascular disorders. Longer-term research has discovered substantially higher dangers related to airplane noise.

Professor Marta Blangiardo, co-author of the School of Public Health report, said, “Heart disease costs NHS England over £7 billion a year, but studies assessing the short-term risks of airport noise on heart health are few and far between.” 

According to the new report, The effectiveness of strategies such as runway rotation and noise insulation that may be made available to nearby communities with congested airports should then be studied.

The conclusion shows that aircraft noise, particularly late at night and early in the morning, may increase the risk of cardiovascular hospitalizations.

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