A review of health effects of aircraft noise

Aust N Z J Public Health. 1997 Apr;21(2):221-36. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-842x.1997.tb01690.x.


Social surveys have established dose-response relationships between aircraft noise and annoyance, with a number of psychological symptoms being positively related to annoyance. Evidence that exposure to aircraft noise is associated with higher psychiatric hospital admission rates is mixed. Some evidence exists of an association between aircraft noise exposure and use of psychotropic medications. People with a pre-existing psychological or psychiatric condition may be more susceptible to the effects or exposure to aircraft noise. Aircraft noise can produce effects on electroencephalogram sleep patterns and cause wakefulness and difficult in sleeping. Attendances at general practitioners, self-reported health problems and use of medications, have been associated with exposure to aircraft noise, but some findings are inconsistent. Some association between aircraft noise exposure and elevated mean blood pressure has been observed in cross-sectional studies of schoolchildren, but with little confirmation from cohort studies. There is no convincing evidence to suggest that all-cause or cause-specific mortality is increased by exposure to aircraft noise. There is no strong evidence that aircraft noise has significant perinatal effects. Using the World Health Organization definition of health, which includes positive mental and social wellbeing, aircraft noise is responsible for considerable ill-health. However, population-based studies have not found strong evidence that people living near or under aircraft flight paths suffer higher rates of clinical morbidity or mortality as a consequence of exposure to aircraft noise. A dearth of high quality studies in this area precludes drawing substantive conclusions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aircraft*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Child
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / etiology
  • Morbidity
  • Mortality
  • Noise, Transportation / adverse effects*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology