‘Want to live long: Stay away from noisy plane’s path’

October 12th, 2010 - 4:16 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 12 (IANS) Living with passenger jets thundering overhead could be risky for your heart.

Researchers found that heart attack fatalities were more widespread among people with greater exposure to aircraft noise.

“The effect was especially evident for people who were exposed to really high levels of noise, and was dependent on how long those people had lived in the noisy place,” said researcher Matthias Egger of the University of Bern, Switzerland.

This study could help determine whether the sound is really the main effect, or if it is something else tagging along with the noise, such as air pollution, reports the Telegraph.

“It’s been a problem that when you look at road traffic noise there are both high levels of noise and high levels of air pollution,” said Egger, according to the journal Epidemiology.

Egger and colleagues identified 15,532 heart attack deaths among 4.6 million Swiss residents between late 2000 and the end of 2005 using detailed information from an ongoing mortality study called the Swiss National Cohort.

Government records and environmental data helped the team determine the distance of individuals’ residences from airports and major roads, as well as relative levels of particulate matter in the vicinity.

This allowed the researchers to pinpoint both aircraft noise and air pollution exposures for each individual over a period of 15 years or longer.

People exposed to a daily average of at least 60 decibels of noise had a 30 percent greater risk of dying from a heart attack compared with those exposed to less than 45 decibels.

Among those exposed to higher decibel levels for 15 or more years, the risk was actually 50 percent higher.

Measuring exposure is complicated by the fact that aircraft noise is intermittent and can temporarily soar above 100 decibels if you’re close to one taking off or landing, said Egger.

-st/rah/vt

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