Road traffic noise, quality of life and mental health among older adults

ESRI Research Bulletin Articles provide short summaries of work published by ESRI researchers and overviews of thematic areas covered by ESRI programmes of research. Bulletin Articles are designed to be easily accessible to a wide readership. A reference or references to the full publication is included at the start of each Bulletin article.

August 9, 2022
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Traffic noise is a widespread feature of modern life, particularly in urban areas and cities. The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified traffic noise, including road, rail and air traffic, as the second most important environmental cause of ill-health in Western Europe. Noise exposure can cause a number of short- and long-term health problems, including sleep disturbance, cardiovascular disease, poorer work and school performance, hearing impairment, etc. While the evidence for harmful health effects of noise is growing, there is a lack of evidence for harmful effects on mental health and wellbeing. The objective of this study was to investigate whether exposure to road traffic noise is associated with quality of life and mental health in the older population.