Cardiovascular Disease and Aircraft Noise Exposure

Project Number: 003
Category: Noise

There is a dearth of US studies evaluating the association between long-term exposure to transportation noise and cardiovascular outcomes. In particular, there are no national cohort studies on transportation noise and cardiovascular disease which include ascertained disease outcomes and comprehensively account for traditional cardiovascular risk factors as well as potential confounding from air pollution. This multi-year project capitalizes on ongoing work within ASCENT to respond to Section 189 of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, which requires the study of potential health impacts of noise exposure resulting from aircraft flights. Specifically, the study aims to assess the potential association between aircraft noise exposure and outcomes such as sleep disturbance and elevated blood pressure leveraging existing collaborations with well-recognized and respected studies, the Nurses’ Health Studies (NHS) and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS). This work aligns with an ongoing NIH-funded effort to investigate potential health impacts of aircraft noise exposure in the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI). These studies provide considerable geographic coverage of the US including all geographic areas specified in Section 189.

This work also responds to a second aspect of Section 189 calling for the study of the economic harm or benefits for businesses located underneath regular flight paths. The study will involve a first-of-a-kind empirical assessment of the economic impacts to businesses located underneath flight paths at selected U.S. airports. Such impacts are expected to be driven by (i) potential positive economic impacts related to the airport and its connectivity; and (ii) environmental impacts such as noise, which potentially reduce revenue and productivity of businesses underneath flight paths.

Anticipated outcomes

  • Large national study applying aircraft noise exposure over multiple years to health cohort studies spanning a large number of airports.
  • Contribution to the body of knowledge regarding potential health impacts of aircraft noise.
  • First empirical assessment of economic impacts to business located under flight paths.


Kim CS, Hart JE, Levy JI, VoPham TM, Simon MC, Nguyen DD, Malwitz A, Laden F, Peters JL. Time-varying aircraft noise exposure and incident hypertension in the Nurses’ Health Study, International Society of Exposure Science (ISES)-International Society for Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE) 2018 Annual Joint Meeting, Ottawa Canada. August 2018 (oral presentation).

Nguyen DD, Levy J, Hart JE, VoPham T, Simon MC, Malwitz A, Laden F, Peters JL. Characterizing temporal trends in aviation noise surrounding U.S. airports, ISES-ISEE 2018 Annual Joint Meeting, Ottawa Canada. August 2018 (oral presentation).

Simon MC, Hart JE, Levy J, VoPham T, Lane KJ, Fabian MP, Nguyen DD, Laden F, Peters JL. Sociodemographic patterns of exposure to civil aircraft noise, ISES-ISEE 2018 Annual Joint Meeting, Ottawa Canada. August 2018 (poster presentation).

Peters JL. Aircraft Health Research: Ongoing Research on Noise and Cardiovascular Outcomes. Aviation Noise & Emissions Symposium 2018. Long Beach, CA. February 2018 (oral presentation).

Peters JL. Aviation Health Research: Ongoing Research on Noise and Health. Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting. Washington, DC. January 2018 (oral presentation).

Peters JL, Levy JI. Aircraft Noise and Cardiovascular Outcomes. UC Davis Noise Symposium. Palm Springs, CA. February 2017 (oral presentation).

Data Access Information

None to report.

Participating universities

  • Boston University School of Public Health
  • Harvard University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Annual Reports

Lead Investigators

Program Managers