Exposure to noise seriously harms human health. It can cause sleep disturbances or heart and metabolic conditions, it affects performance at school and work and triggers changes in social behavior. Specialists at Swiss TPH investigate how exposure to road, railway or aircraft noise causes sleep disturbances and heart and metabolic disorders of people living in Switzerland and abroad. They determine source-specific exposure-response functions due to the acoustical characteristics of noise and elucidate the role of individual factors such as age, gender, noise sensitivity and genetic predispositions. A better understanding of the health impact of noise exposure is highly relevant for regulating environmental noise.
Study on Transportation Noise Exposure and Cardiovascular Mortality
Epidemiological research in the last decade has revealed associations between various cardiometabolic diseases and road, railway and aircraft noise. However, still little is known about mental health effects and most effective interventions to reduce health burden from transportation noise exposure. The TraNQuIL2 study will address several important research questions in relation to acute and long-term health effects from transportation noise to enhance our understanding of effective individual and population-level prevention measures. Read more
For the first time, a study demonstrated that loud night-time noise from airplanes can trigger a cardiovascular death within two hours. Researchers from the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) and partners compared mortality data with acute night-time noise exposure around Zurich airport between 2000 and 2015. The study found that the risk of a cardiovascular death increases by 33% for night-time noise levels between 40 and 50 decibels and 44% for levels above 55 decibels. Read the full study
Swiss TPH experts showed for the first time that long-term transportation noise annoyance is associated with reduced physical activity in Switzerland. The study adds to the evidence on potential impact of noise on chronic diseases for persistent noise annoyance and lower physical activity might result in adverse health effects such as obesity or diabetes. Read the publication
A study analysing the health and economic burden of road, rail and air traffic in Switzerland in 2010 concluded external costs of noise exposure are about 1.8 billion each year; similar to that of air pollution. Most costs are due to reduced rent and purchasing prices of apartments and houses in noise-affected regions. This reflects annoyance and reduced quality of life from chronic noise exposure. In addition, it is estimated that transportation noise causes 22,500 hospital days and 5'500 years of life lost each year. Read the publication