Plane landing at London's Heathrow Airport.
Can noisy neighbors be a health hazard?
This is Sandra Tsing Loh for the Loh Down on Science, saying:
Yes! If your neighbor is a busy metropolitan airport.
So says a new study by Anna Hansell and colleagues at Imperial College London. They studied boroughs in the vicinity of Heathrow Airport, one of the busiest in the world.
Those three-million-plus residents enjoy the glamour of international travel – all day, every day. The "whoosh" of 747s. The "buzz" of A-380s. And the party doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. Annoying? You bet. Life-threatening? Unfortunately, yes.
Excessive noise – like road noise – has already been linked to high blood pressure and sleep deprivation. But when the researchers compared hospital records and decibel ranges in those “fly-by” neighborhoods, they also saw a noticeable increase in strokes, cardiovascular disease, and mortality. A separate Harvard University project studied U.S. airports, with similarly dire results.
The researchers say city planners should "have a heart" when it comes to building airports in urban areas.
Either that, or supply lots of free air miles to Hawaii, with a whole lot of those cute little neck pillows. And delicious honey-roasted peanuts. It’s only fair.
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