Concept: Noise pollution
Prior research has reported disparities in environmental exposures in the United States, but, to our knowledge, no nationwide studies have assessed inequality in noise pollution.
Sleep Disturbance from Road Traffic, Railways, Airplanes and from Total Environmental Noise Levels in Montreal
- International journal of environmental research and public health
- Published over 2 years ago
The objective of our study was to measure the impact of transportation-related noise and total environmental noise on sleep disturbance for the residents of Montreal, Canada. A telephone-based survey on noise-related sleep disturbance among 4336 persons aged 18 years and over was conducted. LNight for each study participant was estimated using a land use regression (LUR) model. Distance of the respondent’s residence to the nearest transportation noise source was also used as an indicator of noise exposure. The proportion of the population whose sleep was disturbed by outdoor environmental noise in the past 4 weeks was 12.4%. The proportion of those affected by road traffic, airplane and railway noise was 4.2%, 1.5% and 1.1%, respectively. We observed an increased prevalence in sleep disturbance for those exposed to both rail and road noise when compared for those exposed to road only. We did not observe an increased prevalence in sleep disturbance for those that were both exposed to road and planes when compared to those exposed to road or planes only. We developed regression models to assess the marginal proportion of sleep disturbance as a function of estimated LNight and distance to transportation noise sources. In our models, sleep disturbance increased with proximity to transportation noise sources (railway, airplane and road traffic) and with increasing LNight values. Our study provides a quantitative estimate of the association between total environmental noise levels estimated using an LUR model and sleep disturbance from transportation noise.
While noise annoyance has become recognized as an important environmental stressor, its association to mental health has hardly been studied. We therefore determined the association of noise annoyance to anxiety and depression and explored the contribution of diverse environmental sources to overall noise annoyance.
The present paper provides an overview of research concerning both acute and chronic effects of exposure to noise on children’s cognitive performance. Experimental studies addressing the impact of acute exposure showed negative effects on speech perception and listening comprehension. These effects are more pronounced in children as compared to adults. Children with language or attention disorders and second-language learners are still more impaired than age-matched controls. Noise-induced disruption was also found for non-auditory tasks, i.e., serial recall of visually presented lists and reading. The impact of chronic exposure to noise was examined in quasi-experimental studies. Indoor noise and reverberation in classroom settings were found to be associated with poorer performance of the children in verbal tasks. Regarding chronic exposure to aircraft noise, studies consistently found that high exposure is associated with lower reading performance. Even though the reported effects are usually small in magnitude, and confounding variables were not always sufficiently controlled, policy makers responsible for noise abatement should be aware of the potential impact of environmental noise on children’s development.
Anthropogenic noise threatens ecological systems, including the cultural and biodiversity resources in protected areas. Using continental-scale sound models, we found that anthropogenic noise doubled background sound levels in 63% of U.S. protected area units and caused a 10-fold or greater increase in 21%, surpassing levels known to interfere with human visitor experience and disrupt wildlife behavior, fitness, and community composition. Elevated noise was also found in critical habitats of endangered species, with 14% experiencing a 10-fold increase in sound levels. However, protected areas with more stringent regulations had less anthropogenic noise. Our analysis indicates that noise pollution in protected areas is closely linked with transportation, development, and extractive land use, providing insight into where mitigation efforts can be most effective.
Noise is pervasive in everyday life and can cause both auditory and non-auditory health effects. Noise-induced hearing loss remains highly prevalent in occupational settings, and is increasingly caused by social noise exposure (eg, through personal music players). Our understanding of molecular mechanisms involved in noise-induced hair-cell and nerve damage has substantially increased, and preventive and therapeutic drugs will probably become available within 10 years. Evidence of the non-auditory effects of environmental noise exposure on public health is growing. Observational and experimental studies have shown that noise exposure leads to annoyance, disturbs sleep and causes daytime sleepiness, affects patient outcomes and staff performance in hospitals, increases the occurrence of hypertension and cardiovascular disease, and impairs cognitive performance in schoolchildren. In this Review, we stress the importance of adequate noise prevention and mitigation strategies for public health.
Ambient-noise-based seismic monitoring of the near surface often has limited spatiotemporal resolutions because dense seismic arrays are rarely sufficiently affordable for such applications. In recent years, however, distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) techniques have emerged to transform telecommunication fiber-optic cables into dense seismic arrays that are cost effective. With DAS enabling both high sensor counts (“large N”) and long-term operations (“large T”), time-lapse imaging of shear-wave velocity (V S ) structures is now possible by combining ambient noise interferometry and multichannel analysis of surface waves (MASW). Here we report the first end-to-end study of time-lapse V S imaging that uses traffic noise continuously recorded on linear DAS arrays over a three-week period. Our results illustrate that for the top 20 meters the V S models that is well constrained by the data, we obtain time-lapse repeatability of about 2% in the model domain-a threshold that is low enough for observing subtle near-surface changes such as water content variations and permafrost alteration. This study demonstrates the efficacy of near-surface seismic monitoring using DAS-recorded ambient noise.
Tens of millions of Americans suffer from a range of adverse health outcomes due to noise exposure, including heart disease and hearing loss. Reducing environmental noise pollution is achievable and consistent with national prevention goals, and yet there is no national plan to reduce environmental noise pollution.
There have been concerns about increasing levels of hearing impairment in children and adolescents, especially in relation to noise exposure, because even mild levels of hearing loss can affect educational outcomes.
The relationship between environmental noise and health has been examined in depth. In view of the sheer number of persons exposed, attention should be focused on road traffic noise. The city of Madrid (Spain) is a densely populated metropolitan area in which 80% of all environmental noise exposure is attributed to traffic. The aim of this study was to quantify avoidable deaths resulting from reducing the impact of equivalent diurnal noise levels (LeqD) on daily cardiovascular and respiratory mortality among people aged ≥65 years in Madrid. A health impact assessment of (average 24h) LeqD and PM2.5 levels was conducted by using previously reported risk estimates of mortality rates for the period 2003-2005: For cardiovascular causes: LeqD 1.048 (1.005, 1.092) and PM2.5 1.041(1.020, 1.062) and for respiratory causes: LeqD 1.060 (1.000, 1.123) and PM2.5 1.030 (1.000, 1.062). The association found between LeqD exposure and mortality for both causes suggests an important health effect. A reduction of 1dB(A) in LeqD implies an avoidable annual mortality of 284 (31, 523) cardiovascular- and 184 (0, 190) respiratory-related deaths in the study population. The magnitude of the health impact is similar to reducing average PM2.5 levels by 10µg/m(3). Regardless of air pollution, exposure to traffic noise should be considered an important environmental factor having a significant impact on health.