Aims: Road traffic noise has been associated with hypertension but evidence for the long-term effects on hospital admissions and mortality is limited. We examined the effects of long-term exposure to road traffic noise on hospital admissions and mortality in the general population.
Methods and results: The study population consisted of 8.6 million inhabitants of London, one of Europe's largest cities. We assessed small-area-level associations of day- (7:00-22:59) and nighttime (23:00-06:59) road traffic noise with cardiovascular hospital admissions and all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in all adults (≥25 years) and elderly (≥75 years) through Poisson regression models. We adjusted models for age, sex, area-level socioeconomic deprivation, ethnicity, smoking, air pollution, and neighbourhood spatial structure. Median daytime exposure to road traffic noise was 55.6 dB. Daytime road traffic noise increased the risk of hospital admission for stroke with relative risk (RR) 1.05 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.02-1.09] in adults, and 1.09 (95% CI: 1.04-1.14) in the elderly in areas >60 vs. <55 dB. Nighttime noise was associated with stroke admissions only among the elderly. Daytime noise was significantly associated with all-cause mortality in adults [RR 1.04 (95% CI: 1.00-1.07) in areas >60 vs. <55 dB]. Positive but non-significant associations were seen with mortality for cardiovascular and ischaemic heart disease, and stroke. Results were similar for the elderly.
Conclusions: Long-term exposure to road traffic noise was associated with small increased risks of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular mortality and morbidity in the general population, particularly for stroke in the elderly.
Keywords: Cardiovascular; Epidemiology; Hospital admission; Mortality; Traffic noise.
© The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology.