Acute circulatory effects of military low-altitude flight noise

Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 1990;62(5):365-72. doi: 10.1007/BF00381366.


Volunteers aged 70 to 89 years living in a senior citizen's home in Haifa were exposed to flight noise via earphones while watching video films. Their blood pressure and heart rates were measured simultaneously. A high-quality recording and reproduction technique was employed. They were exposed to the noise of two to three overflights with Lmax = 99-114 dB(A) and slow sound pressure level increase (aircraft take off) or with Lmax = 95-112 dB(A) and a fast sound pressure level increase (low-altitude flight at high subsonic speed) at intervals of 10 to 15 min. The systolic and diastolic blood pressure was raised at Lmax = 112 dB(A) and high speed level increase at the average of 23 and 13 mmHg, respectively with individual maximal values of about 40 mm Hg (systolic). In order to prevent risks to the subjects' health, the noise exposure was not raised to levels above 112 dB(A) and fast level increase, although Lmax = 125 dB(A) has been measured in 75 m-low-altitude flight areas. The blood pressure response to a repeated single exposure increased in proportion to the preceding noise exposure. At high intensities and fast level increase an up to fourfold reaction intensification was detected in the majority of subjects. This change in reactivity is regarded as the result of sensitization toward the special type of noise and the implications of these observations for the long-term effects of chronic exposure to low-altitude flight noise are considered. On the basis of these results, proposals are made for limiting values for Lmax and for the speed of sound pressure level increase, the implementation of which would lead to a marked reduction in health risks from low-altitude flight noise.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aircraft*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Hypertension / etiology
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Noise / adverse effects*
  • Time Factors