Aircraft noise increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases and mental illness. The allowable limit for sound in the vicinity of an airport is 65 decibels (dB) averaged over a 24-h 'day and night' period (DNL) in the United States. We evaluate the trade-off between the cost and the health benefits of changing the regulatory DNL level from 65 dB to 55 dB using a Markov model. The study used LaGuardia Airport (LGA) as a case study. In compliance with 55 dB allowable limit of aircraft noise, sound insulation would be required for residential homes within the 55 dB to 65 dB DNL. A Markov model was built to assess the cost-effectiveness of installing sound insulation. One-way sensitivity analyses and Monte Carlo simulation were conducted to test uncertainty of the model. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of installing sound insulation for residents exposed to airplane noise from LGA was $11,163/QALY gained (95% credible interval: cost-saving and life-saving to $93,054/QALY gained). Changing the regulatory standard for noise exposure around airports from 65 dB to 55 dB comes at a very good value.
Keywords: aircraft noise; cost-effectiveness; regulatory change; sound insulation.