Background: An increasing number of people are exposed to aircraft and road traffic noise. Hypertension is an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and even a small contribution in risk from environmental factors may have a major impact on public health.
Objectives: The HYENA (Hypertension and Exposure to Noise near Airports) study aimed to assess the relations between noise from aircraft or road traffic near airports and the risk of hypertension.
Methods: We measured blood pressure and collected data on health, socioeconomic, and lifestyle factors, including diet and physical activity, via questionnaire at home visits for 4,861 persons 45-70 years of age, who had lived at least 5 years near any of six major European airports. We assessed noise exposure using detailed models with a resolution of 1 dB (5 dB for United Kingdom road traffic noise), and a spatial resolution of 250 x 250 m for aircraft and 10 x 10 m for road traffic noise.
Results: We found significant exposure-response relationships between night-time aircraft as well as average daily road traffic noise exposure and risk of hypertension after adjustment for major confounders. For night-time aircraft noise, a 10-dB increase in exposure was associated with an odds ratio (OR) of 1.14 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.01-1.29]. The exposure-response relationships were similar for road traffic noise and stronger for men with an OR of 1.54 (95% CI, 0.99-2.40) in the highest exposure category (> 65 dB; p(trend) = 0.008).
Conclusions: Our results indicate excess risks of hypertension related to long-term noise exposure, primarily for night-time aircraft noise and daily average road traffic noise.
Keywords: aircraft; blood pressure; hypertension; noise; road traffic.