Exposure to aircraft and road traffic noise and associations with heart disease and stroke in six European countries: A cross-sectional study

Sarah Floud, Marta Blangiardo, Charlotte Clark, Kees De Hoogh, Wolfgang Babisch, Danny Houthuijs, Wim Swart, Göran Pershagen, Klea Katsouyanni, Manolis Velonakis, Federica Vigna-Taglianti, Ennio Cadum, Anna L. Hansell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Although a number of studies have found an association between aircraft noise and hypertension, there is a lack of evidence on associations with other cardiovascular disease. For road traffic noise, more studies are available but the extent of possible confounding by air pollution has not been established. Methods. This study used data from the Hypertension and Environmental Noise near Airports (HYENA) study. Cross-sectional associations between self-reported 'heart disease and stroke' and aircraft noise and road traffic noise were examined using data collected between 2004 and 2006 on 4712 participants (276 cases), who lived near airports in six European countries (UK, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Greece, Italy). Data were available to assess potential confounding by NO§ssub§2§esub§ air pollution in a subsample of three countries (UK, Netherlands, Sweden). Results: An association between night-time average aircraft noise and 'heart disease and stroke' was found after adjustment for socio-demographic confounders for participants who had lived in the same place for ≥ 20 years (odds ratio (OR): 1.25 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.03, 1.51) per 10 dB (A)); this association was robust to adjustment for exposure to air pollution in the subsample. 24 hour average road traffic noise exposure was associated with 'heart disease and stroke' (OR: 1.19 (95% CI 1.00, 1.41), but adjustment for air pollution in the subsample suggested this may have been due to confounding by air pollution. Statistical assessment (correlations and variance inflation factor) suggested only modest collinearity between noise and NO§ssub§2§esub§ exposures. Conclusions: Exposure to aircraft noise over many years may increase risks of heart disease and stroke, although more studies are needed to establish how much the risks associated with road traffic noise may be explained by air pollution.

Original languageEnglish
Article number89
JournalEnvironmental Health: A Global Access Science Source
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Lars Järup, who sadly passed away in 2010, was the principal investigator of the HYENA project. Other members of the study team are Maria Chiara Antoniotti, Salvatore Pisani, Alessandro Borgini, Federica Mathis, Giorgio Barbaglia, Matteo Giampaolo, Jessica Kwekkeboom, Oscar Breugelmans. Sean Beevers from Environmental Research Group, King’s College London provided air pollution data for London; Wim Blom provided air pollution data for Netherlands and SLB-analys provided air pollution data for Sweden. HYENA was funded by a grant from the European Commission (Directorate General Research) in Fifth framework programme, Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources, Key Action 4 Environment and Health (grant QLRT-2001-02501). This work was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (grant ES/F038763/1) with additional funding from the European Network for Noise and Health (ENNAH, EU FP7 grant number 226442). The funders had no role in the study design, in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data, in the writing of the article, and in the decision to submit the article for publication.


  • Air pollutants
  • Angina pectoris
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Noise
  • Stroke
  • Transportation


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