Road traffic noise, quality of life, and mental distress among older adults: evidence from Ireland
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This research contributes to an emerging evidence base that considers a possible relationship between exposure to road traffic noise and mental distress. This study aimed to determine whether chronic exposure to road traffic noise was associated with quality of life or various measures of mental distress. We spatially linked high-quality modelled noise exposure data for the cities of Dublin and Cork in Ireland to The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing, allowing an examination of these health outcomes among older adults while adjusting for socio-demographic and behavioural characteristics. Exposure to air pollution was also considered in the analysis, allowing any associations between noise and either quality of life or mental distress that were independent of this other stressor to be isolated. While the study did not detect evidence of an association between noise exposure and depression, anxiety, stress, or worry, it identified a negative association between exposure to road traffic noise and quality of life that was independent of a range of socio-demographic and behavioural factors. Moving from the highest quintile of noise exposure to the lowest was associated with an increase on the CASP-12 quality of life scale of 1.08 of a standard deviation.