Airplane noise is bad for your health

Photo credit: Johannes Plenio

by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies

In my opinion, the title of this article, “Airplane Noise May Be Bad for Your Health” should have read “Aircraft Noise Is Bad for Your Health,” in light of the strong research that links noise, including aircraft noise, to adverse mental and physical health effects. However, readers should still be attracted to this post by the study cited in this article. This study found that aircraft noise exposure can lead to an increase in body mass index (BMI), which is an indicator of general obesity. These results were attained after examining nearly 75,000 female participants living near airports.

There were some variations among the participants. For example, those living on the West Coast were more likely to have a higher BMI. Researchers hypothesized that this could be due to warmer weather encouraging people to open windows more frequently, exposing women to increased aircraft noise.

The article reminds us that noise brings higher stress levels and can disturb one’s sleep. The researchers recognized that the majority of the participants were primarily white and of mid-level socioeconomic status. In the future, they hope to include more Black and Hispanic populations, and a wider variety of income levels.

The study was funded by the Federal Aviation Administration. Thus, it was no surprise to see a statement in this article that residents bothered by aircraft noise can issue a complaint by going to the FAA website. The author also urged residents to ask their lawmakers “to consider the health implications of environmental noise.” I strongly support this message and urge our readers to remind their legislators that noise, including aircraft noise, is harmful to our health. For a better future, we must all take action to lessen noise pollution.

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