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Aircraft, environmental impact is obviously a major concern for the acceptance of

rotorcraft operations. Rotorcraft noise is in fact widely recognized as one of the key
factors which might prohibit wider civil of rotorcraft in populated areas.

Trying to identify, measure, and quantify any potential effects of aviation noise on
health is a complex and difficult field of study. Variations on how to identify and/or
measure the noise exposure itself(single dose, long-term average number of events
above a certain level, etc.), and attempting to separate the effects from other life
events are difficult at best. For example, lifestyles, life's stressors, hereditary factors,
and genetic composition are just a few factors that may distort potential results of an
aviation noise health effects study. Given this complexity, the large amount of research
published during the past 30 years has produced considerable variability of results;
often some are quite controversial. The absence of one internationally acceptable
"exposure-effect" or "dose response" relationship is largely the result of the lack of one
obvious "best choice" research methodology.
After reviewing all new research, reviewing previous research with new thought, and
collaborative efforts to identify health effects related solely to aviation noise were
completed, four main subject areas were identified:
Cardiovascular effects,
Aviation noise effects and children,

Aviation noise effects on hospitals and care facilities, and


potential hearing impairment
CARDIOVASCULAR EFFECTS
Several recent studies have reviewed previous literature, either through compilation or
re-review of original data, which suggest that increased hypertension or other
cardiovascular effects may be associated with particular long-term noise exposure. For
example, in 2000 at a World Health Organization expert task force meeting, a weak
association between long-term environmental noise exposure and hypertension was
suggested, but no dose-response relationship could be established (Guidelines for
Community Noise 2000). It concluded that cardiovascular effects may be associated
with long-term exposure; however, the associations are weak and the effect is
somewhat stronger for ischemic heart disease than for hypertension. Another example,
a study by Passchier-Vermeer and Passchier (2000) reviewed existing literature that
stated there was sufficient scientific evidence that noise exposure can induce hearing
impairment, hypertension, and ischemic heart disease. it concluded there were no
obvious effects from noise exposure on mean diastolic and mean systolic blood
pressure; however, some effects were observed in terms of an increase in the
percentage of individuals with hypertension.
Most reviewers concluded that previous reviews were not carried out in a systematic
way, which makes them prone to bias. Reviewer pointed out the tendency for some
studies to inadequately report noise exposure data. In 2002, for example, Van Kempen

et al. concluded that whereas "Noise exposure can contribute to the prevalence of
cardiovascular disease, the evidence for a relation between noise exposure and
ischemic heart disease is still inconclusive, because of the limitations of exposure
characterization adjustment for important confounders, and occurrence of publication
boas." No difference in systolic and diastolic blood pressure have been found in crosssectional studies comparing areas near an airport with calm, suburban areas; therefore,
aircraft noise levels were not a factor in these two subject areas. One should note that
cross-sectional studies generally do not identify a cause and effect relationship, and
often do not report a dose-response relationship between the cause and effect.
AVIATION NOISE EFFECTS AND CHILDREN
Another particular concern over the last 30 years is the potential health effect on
children owing to exposure to or interference from aviation nose. Published studies
include the effects of aircraft noise and mental disturbances by means of a crosssectional study in two contrasting geographical regions. Although noise levels were not
reported, they are likely to be very high, as military aircraft fly as low as 75 m with very
high onset rates. Neither psychiatric disorders nor environmental factors showed any
relationship to noise; however, psychophysiological parameters (e.g., heart rate and
muscle tenstion) did demonstrate some relationship to noise. Other recent studies have
focused on relationships between noise exposure during pregnancy and low birth
weights; however, no association was found between personal noise exposure
(measure in decibels) and birth weight (Wu et al. 1996; Passchier Vermeer and

Passchier 2000). Other possible noise (e.g., occupational, traffic noise, and history of
listening to amplified music) also showed no effect on infant birth weights.
Effect on Aviation Noise on Schools
Some of the most promising research has been in the area of aviation noise effects on
school children. Recent studies indicate a potential link between increased aviation
noise and both reading comprehension and learning motivation, particularly for those
students already scholastically challenged. The effect of aviation noise on children's
learning ability and retention of information in schools is of critical concern worldwide,
with several new and potentially conclusive studies having been completed in the last
few years. Most of the new research and