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Aircraft and road traffic noise and children's cognition and health: A cross-national study
Detail: SA Stansfeld,B Berglund, C Clark , I Lopez-Barrio, P Fischer, E Öhrström, MM Haines, J Head, S Hygge, I van Kamp and BF Berry, on behalf of the RANCH study team*


Exposure to environmental stressors can impair children's health and their cognitive development. The effects of air pollution, lead, and chemicals have been studied, but there has been less emphasis on the effects of noise. The aim, of this study therefore, was to assess the effect of exposure to aircraft and road traffic noise on cognitive performance and health in children.

The study identified linear exposure-effect associations between exposure to chronic aircraft noise and impairment of reading comprehension (p=0·0097) and recognition memory (p=0·0141), and a non-linear association with annoyance (p<0·0001) maintained after adjustment for mother's education, socioeconomic status, longstanding illness, and extent of classroom insulation against noise. Exposure to road traffic noise was linearly associated with increases in episodic memory (conceptual recall: p=0·0066; information recall: p=0·0489), but also with annoyance (p=0·0047). Neither aircraft noise nor traffic noise affected sustained attention, self-reported health, or overall mental health.

Source: The Lancet, Volume 365, Number 9475, 4 June 2005

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Date: June 4 2005