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Is the Whole More Than the Sum of Its Parts? Health Effects of Different Types of Traffic Noise Combined
Open AccessArticle

Road Traffic Noise at the Residence, Annoyance, and Cognitive Function in Elderly Women

IUF-Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(10), 1790;
Received: 15 March 2019 / Revised: 15 May 2019 / Accepted: 18 May 2019 / Published: 20 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Effects of Future Traffic Noise)
PDF [565 KB, uploaded 28 May 2019]


The detrimental effects of traffic noise on cognition in children are well documented. Not much is known about the health effects in adults. We investigated the association of residential exposure to road traffic noise and annoyance due to road traffic noise with cognitive function in a cohort of 288 elderly women from the longitudinal Study on the influence of Air pollution on Lung function, Inflammation and Aging (SALIA) in Germany. Residential noise levels—weighted 24-h mean (LDEN) and nighttime noise (LNIGHT)—were modeled for the most exposed facade of dwellings and dichotomized at ≥50 dB(A). Traffic noise annoyance (day and night) was estimated by questionnaire. Cognitive function was assessed using the Consortium to Establish a Registry on Alzheimer’s Disease (CERAD-Plus) Neuropsychological Assessment Battery. The modeled noise levels were associated with impaired total cognition and the constructional praxis domain, independently of air pollution. Self-reported noise annoyance was associated with better performance in semantic memory and constructional praxis domains. This finding should be interpreted with caution since we could not control for potential confounding by hearing loss. Noise levels and annoyance were associated, but their health effects seemed mutually independent. View Full-Text
Keywords: road traffic noise; noise annoyance; cognitive impairment road traffic noise; noise annoyance; cognitive impairment

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Fuks, K.B.; Wigmann, C.; Altug, H.; Schikowski, T. Road Traffic Noise at the Residence, Annoyance, and Cognitive Function in Elderly Women. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 1790.

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