Impact of Exposure to Road Traffic Noise Quantified

Noise-impact indicators can be useful metrics for comparing noise equity

THURSDAY, Sept. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Noise-impact indicators, such as the percentage of the population who are highly annoyed and who have high levels of sleep disturbance, can be valuable metrics in comparing noise equity among urban communities, according to research published online Sept. 11 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Minho Kim, Ph.D., from Sangmyung University in Seoul, South Korea, and colleagues analyzed data from a sound-propagation model for noise-level prediction and derived noise-impact indicators for annoyance and sleep disturbance based on exposure-response models. The impact of road traffic noise in a highly urbanized area (Fulton County, Ga.) was examined.

The researchers predicted that 109,967 people in Fulton County would be at risk of being highly annoyed, and 19,621 people would be at risk for high sleep disturbance. In order to compare noise equity among urban communities, indicators of noise impact, including the percentage of people who were highly annoyed and who had high levels of sleep disturbance, were expected to be valuable metrics.

"These findings suggest a need for more extensive traffic-related noise research and discussion of how such research can inform potential urban planning policies that could prevent or reduce noise problems in urban communities," the authors write. "Assessing and alleviating environmental noise is an essential element for improving or creating healthy communities where adults and children can work, play, and live."

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