Effects of aircraft noise on annoyance and quality of life in German children near Frankfurt/Main airport: Results of the NORAH (noise-related annoyance, cognition, and health)-study

Regular paper

Kirstin Bergström

University of Kaiserslautern

Tuesday 2 june, 2015, 11:40 - 12:00

0.4 Brussels (189)

Prior research indicates that chronic exposure to aircraft noise is associated with annoyance and decreased quality of life in children. In the framework of the NORAH-study, the effects of aircraft noise on childrenīs annoyance, well-being at school and health-related quality of life were investigated in about 1.200 German second-graders from 29 schools in the vicinity of Frankfurt/Main Airport. Outcome variables were assessed via structured interviews of the children in the classrooms, and parents and teacher questionnaires. Potential confounding factors such as socioeconomic status, classroom insulation and exposure to road traffic and railway noise at school were also assessed. Although aircraft noise levels at childrenīs homes did not exceed 61 dB (LAeq 06-22) and were thus considerably lower than in prior studies, multilevel analyses revealed small but significant detrimental effects of aircraft noise on childrenīs well-being at school, health-related quality of life, and sleep quality. Teachers from noise-exposed schools consistently reported severe impairments of school lessons due to interruptions of discourse and obvious distraction of the children in case of overflights. The magnitude and relevance of the noise effects are discussed.

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