Aircraft noise is harmful to you

Airplanes are heavy and noisy machinery. If you live in the vicinity of an airport or are otherwise bothered by aircraft noise, it may impact your health.

Researchers from the University of Bern discovered that the risk of dying from a heart attack is larger if you are exposed to aircraft noise. The results have been published in the ’Epidemiology’ journal

Aircraft noise

Copenhagen Airport is one of the largest airports in Scandinavia and had 29,177,833 transit passengers in 2017. This means that Copenhagen Airport is a source of noise. During 2016, 22 new flights from Copenhagen Airport opened which must impact the level of noise from the airport considerably.

Noise stresses the environment as many people are affected by noise. That’s why airport and aircraft noise is being carefully monitored at Copenhagen Airport. Monitoring stations are located almost all round the airport to ensure precise measuring and to ensure that the noise level of 65dB is not exceeded.

Consequences of airport and aircraft noise

People who are often exposed to or live in areas with aircraft noise may be exposed to health issues. Some of the health issues of aircraft noise are similar to the effects of traffic noise. Read our blog post on traffic noise. In its report ‘Burden of Disease from Environmental Noise’, the World Health Organisation (WHO) compares all environmental noise and describe it as “unwanted or
harmful outdoor sound created by human activities, including noise from road traffic, railway traffic airports and industrial sites”. The EU has issued guidelines ordering major cities to map noise from these sources.

According to studies from the University of Bern, people who are exposed to noise exceeding 60dB a day have a 30% higher risk of dying from heart attacks than people only exposed to 45dB a day. The more aircraft noise you are exposed to and the longer you are exposed, the higher the risk of health issues.

Other health issues of aircraft noise:

  • Reduced learning capacity in children
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Psychological effects such as irritation
  • Overweight
  • Pregnancy; noise can affect the weight of the child at birth

General traffic noise may have other effects. To read more about diseases caused by noise, read our blog post about traffic noise in residential areas

How to reduce noise in and around airports?

Many people who live on Amager are affected by noise from Copenhagen Airport that often exceeds the noise limit of 65dB applicable to residential areas. The Danish Transport, Construction and Housing Authority has established a maximum noise level in the airport area of 147.4dB. Copenhagen Airport is 3dB below this limit.

In 2013, Copenhagen Airport released the Webtrak program which allows private individuals to monitor air traffic in and around the airport. The program makes it possible to find the information you need about specific aircraft and to submit precise reports on it to the airport. This program is meant to remedy the problem. Via the program, a complaint can be sent to Copenhagen Airport about specific aircraft that exceeds the noise level.

So Copenhagen Airport is already doing much to keep the noise level below the maximum noise level at the airport and around the airport of 65dB.

Other measures can be taken to reduce noise from aircraft and airports. Noise barriers can be established as walls shielding the residential areas close to airports from the noise.

Gatwick Airport has walls shielding the noise from the airport. This wall has been built to reduce noise for those who live close to the airport as aircraft noise may be hazardous.

Shiphol Airport in the Netherlands has established grassy hills breaking the sound waves from the aircraft. Read more about how Shiphol Airport handles noise here: usatoday.com

For further information about how noise may have hazardous effects, view our infographic which illustrate facts about noise. You can also have a look at the noise barometer to get an understanding of the decibel scale

Links:

Copenhagen Airport: https://www.cph.dk/globalassets/5.-om-cph/csr/rapporterdk/cph_og_samfundet_2010_dk.pdf

The Architects Journal: https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/home/gatwick-airport-acoustic-wall/781818.article

Ingeniøren.dk: https://ing.dk/artikel/nu-kan-alle-foelge-og-dokumentere-flystoejen-paa-amager-158342

CPH – traffic statistics: https://www.cph.dk/om-cph/investorer/trafikstatistik/2018/1/cph-trafiktal-29.177.833-rejste-gennem-lufthavnen-i-2017/

Check-in.dk: https://www.check-in.dk/20-stoerste-lufthavne-norden/

And https://www.check-in.dk/fremgang-paa-alle-fronter-i-cph/

The Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/8056122/Noise-from-aircraft-is-bad-for-your-health.html

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