Impact of aeroplane noise on mental and physical health: a quasi-experimental analysis

Scarlett Sijia Wang, Sherry Glied, Sharifa Williams, Brian Will, Peter Alexander Muennig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Historically, departures at New York City's LaGuardia airport flew over a large sports complex within a park. During the US Open tennis games, flights were diverted to fly over a heavily populated foreign-born neighbourhood for roughly 2 weeks out of the year so that the tennis match was not disturbed (the 'TNNIS' departure). In 2012, the use of the TNNIS departure became year-round to better optimise flight patterns around the metropolitan area. METHODS: We exploited exogenously induced spatial and temporal variation in flight patterns to examine difference-in-difference effects of this new exposure to aircraft noise on the health of individual residents in the community relative to individuals residing within a demographically similar community that was not impacted. We used individual-level Medicaid records, focusing on conditions associated with noise: sleep disturbance, psychological stress, mental illness, substance use, and cardiovascular disease. RESULTS: We found that increased exposure to aeroplane noise was associated with a significant increase in insomnia across all age groups, but particularly in children ages 5-17 (OR=1.64, 95% CI=1.12 to 2.39). Cardiovascular disease increased significantly both among 18-44-year-old (OR=1.45, 95% CI=1.41 to 1.49) and 45-64-year-old Medicaid recipients (OR=1.15, 95% CI=1.07 to 1.25). Substance use and mental health-related emergency department visits also increased. For ages 5-17,rate ratio (RR) was 4.11 (95% CI=3.28 to 5.16); for ages 18-44, RR was 2.46 (95% CI=2.20 to 2.76); and for ages 45-64, RR was 1.48 (95% CI=1.31 to 1.67). CONCLUSION: We find that increased exposure to aeroplane noise was associated with an increase in diagnosis of cardiovascular disease, substance use/mental health emergencies and insomnia among local residents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e057209
JournalBMJ open
Volume12
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2 2022

Keywords

  • cardiac epidemiology
  • epidemiology
  • mental health
  • public health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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