Long-Term Exposure to Transportation Noise and Risk of Incident Stroke: A Pooled Study of Nine Scandinavian Cohorts

Environ Health Perspect. 2021 Oct;129(10):107002. doi: 10.1289/EHP8949. Epub 2021 Oct 4.


Background: Transportation noise is increasingly acknowledged as a cardiovascular risk factor, but the evidence base for an association with stroke is sparse.

Objective: We aimed to investigate the association between transportation noise and stroke incidence in a large Scandinavian population.

Methods: We harmonized and pooled data from nine Scandinavian cohorts (seven Swedish, two Danish), totaling 135,951 participants. We identified residential address history and estimated road, railway, and aircraft noise for all addresses. Information on stroke incidence was acquired through linkage to national patient and mortality registries. We analyzed data using Cox proportional hazards models, including socioeconomic and lifestyle confounders, and air pollution.

Results: During follow-up (median=19.5y), 11,056 stroke cases were identified. Road traffic noise (Lden) was associated with risk of stroke, with a hazard ratio (HR) of 1.06 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.03, 1.08] per 10-dB higher 5-y mean time-weighted exposure in analyses adjusted for individual- and area-level socioeconomic covariates. The association was approximately linear and persisted after adjustment for air pollution [particulate matter (PM) with an aerodynamic diameter of 2.5μm (PM2.5) and NO2]. Stroke was associated with moderate levels of 5-y aircraft noise exposure (40-50 vs. 40 dB) (HR=1.12; 95% CI: 0.99, 1.27), but not with higher exposure (50 dB, HR=0.94; 95% CI: 0.79, 1.11). Railway noise was not associated with stroke.

Discussion: In this pooled study, road traffic noise was associated with a higher risk of stroke. This finding supports road traffic noise as an important cardiovascular risk factor that should be included when estimating the burden of disease due to traffic noise. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP8949.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants* / analysis
  • Air Pollution* / analysis
  • Cohort Studies
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis
  • Humans
  • Noise, Transportation* / adverse effects
  • Stroke* / epidemiology


  • Air Pollutants