Noise exposure and health Print


Laboratory as well as epidemiological studies involving both workers exposed to noise in the workplace, and the general population living in the surroundings of airports, factories and roads with high traffic,

indicate that noise can have an - temporary or permanent - impact on physiological functions in humans. Acute exposure to noise affects the functions of the autonomic nervous system and of the hormonal system, leading to transient effects with increased heart rate and vasoconstriction and subsequent increase in blood pressure, changes in blood viscosity, blood lipids, and electrolyte disturbances. As a result of prolonged exposure to noise, the most susceptible individuals of the population may develop permanent damage, such as hypertension and ischemic heart disease, up to myocardial infarction. Noise is indicated as a cause of irritability, fatigue, headache, impaired sleep quality, decreased performance and overall mental and physical alteration defined as “annoyance”. In the case of children exposed to noise, also a reduction of the learning ability and of the cognitive skills have been reported.

The DEP has conducted epidemiological studies on the effects of aircraft noise on the health of the adult population living in the municipalities of Ciampino and Marino: the studies SERA (Study on the Impact of Airport Noise) and SAMBA (Health, Environment, Children).