Aircraft noise stress and the effects on human health : a cross-sectional study in metropolitan Minnesota Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/wp988p170

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  • Although the adverse auditory effects of noise have been the focus of occupational health research for decades, little is known about the nonauditory health effects that result from noise exposure. The focus of this research was the nonauditory health effects of exposure to commercial aircraft noise (CAN) overflights. It was theorized that CAN exposure resulted in an ongoing stress-response that had the potential to be harmful to human health over time. Two aspects of CAN were considered; the sound level intensity (dBA), and the frequency of overflights. Data were collected by a stratified random sampling design in the CAN exposed neighborhoods of Eagan, St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Bloomington, and in control communities of Shoreview and Mounds View, all located in Minnesota (n=4000). A written questionnaire was used to measure; (1) health (MOS-36 Scale), (2) behavioral and emotional coping strategies, (3) noise sensitivity, (4) annoyance levels, and (5) demographic data. Aircraft noise levels and overflight data were obtained in cooperation with the Metropolitan Airport Sound Abatement Commission. Results showed significantly higher stress levels and lower health measures by CAN exposure type. These findings occurred primarily in communities exposed to high frequencies of aircraft overflights. Multivariate analysis revealed significant reductions for the three main health measures of General Health (GH), Sense of Vitality (Vitality), and Mental Health (MH), based on CAN exposure type. Post-hoc contrast analysis indicated that GH, Vitality, and MH scores were worst with high frequency of overflights. Behavioral copers had significantly fewer stress symptoms and used fewer stress medications than non-behavioral copers. Non-normalized emotional copers had significant negative associations with Gil, Vitality, and MH; however, these correlations were weak. Noise sensitivity levels were not significantly different among the CAN exposed communities; however noise annoyance levels were significantly higher than controls, and were the highest with high frequency of overflights. Finally, multivariate analysis of covariance indicated significant reduction for health measures based on CAN exposure types after adjusting for all effect modifiers (covariates) in the study. Vitality was the most consistently impacted by CAN exposure, and this was particularly the case for subjects exposed to high frequency of aircraft overflights.
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