People who live close to airports suffer more than mere annoyance from
ascending and descending aircraft. Aircraft noise may significantly impact
the mental and physical health of people who live below the flight paths of
commercial and private airplanes. Since the 1970s, numerous studies have
found aircraft noise linked to:
learning and academic performance
These trends need further analysis and documentation. Unfortunately, due to
lack of federal funding for noise research, studies have not been conducted.
The Office of Noise Abatement and Control (ONAC), part of the Environmental
Protection Agency, was established in 1972 as a result of the Noise Control
Act passed by Congress. Unfortunately, severe budget cuts during the 1980s
have reduced this office to a skeleton staff incapable of meeting the
public's demands for more research.
Morrow, Lance. "Airline Pollution: The Sky Has Its Limits." Time Magazine.
May. 07, 2001. Air traffic is getting noisier and dirtier, and the FAA is
doing a lousy job of controlling it.
Noise as a hazard: Medical professionals talk about the health effects of
US-EPA. "Noise: a health problem." 1978
US-EPA. "Sound Levels and Relative Loudness"
Airport Noise www.lhh.org/noise/facts/airport.htm
Noise & Health www.lhh.org/noise/facts/health.htm
Noise & Children's Learning www.lhh.org/noise/children/learning.htm
Noise & Children's Health www.lhh.org/noise/children/health.htm
Noise & Children's Behavior www.lhh.org/noise/children/behavior.htm
Noise Levels Common in Our Environment www.lhh.org/noise/decibel.htm
World Health Organization; Guidelines for Community Noise
Noise Studies, Children:
Bronzaft, A. L. Effects of Noise. In Encyclopedia of Environmental Science
and Engineering. (1998). Edited by J. R. Pfafflin and E. N. Ziegler.
Netherlands: Gordon and Breach Science Publishers.
Review article includes definition of sound and noise, physiological and
psychological effects of noise, responsibility of government, planning and
designing for quiet, and discussion of efforts of organizations combating
Bronzaft, A. L. Noise Sources, Health Impacts and Legal Remedies: A
Psychologist's Perspective. (1998). Environmental Law in New York. New York:
Discusses the sources of noises and mental and physical health impacts but
the major focus is on the law and noise on the federal and New York State
Bronzaft, A., Ahern, K. D., McGinn, R., O'Connor, J. and Savino, B. Aircraft
Noise: A Potential Health Hazard. In Environment and Behavior, January 1998,
Volume 30, pp 101-113.
Abstract: A questionnaire distributed to two groups, one living within the
flight pattern of a major airport and the other in a nonflight area, sought
to determine whether these groups would respond differently to questionnaires
pertaining to noise, health perception, and quality of life issues. Nearly
70% of the residents living within the flight corridors reported themselves
bothered by aircraft noise. Aircraft noise, in contrast to other bothersome
noises, interfered more frequently with daily activities. Subjects who were
bothered aircraft noise were more likely to complain of sleep difficulties
and more likely to perceive themselves to be in poorer health. This study's
finding of a possible realtionship betweeen noise and adverse health effects
might encourage policy makers to enact pending antinoise legislation and to
fund further noise research.
Please share this study with public officials, neighbors, and all interested
in effects of noise on health. With 70% of the subjects reporting being
bothered by noise, it can't be said that only a few are bothered. Daily
activities interfered with: watching television, sleeping, opening windows,
sleep. These are all important to a good "quality of life."
For more information: Contact Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., 505 E. 79th Street,
New York, NY 10021.