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

1
Institute and Policlinic of Occupational and Social Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Technische Universität Dresden, 01307 Dresden, Germany
2
NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, University of Sydney, NSW 2050 Sydney, Australia
3
Department of Prevention and Evaluation, Leibniz-Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology – BIPS, 28359 Bremen, Germany
4
Health Sciences Bremen, University of Bremen, 28359 Bremen, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(9), 1665; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16091665
Received: 4 April 2019 / Revised: 6 May 2019 / Accepted: 12 May 2019 / Published: 13 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Effects of Future Traffic Noise)
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Abstract

Many epidemiological studies find that people exposed to aircraft, road or railway traffic noise are at increased risk of illness, including cardiovascular disease (CVD) and depression. It is unclear how the combined exposure to these different types of traffic noise affects disease risks. This study addresses this question with a large secondary data-based case-control study (“NORAH disease risk study”). The Akaike information criterion (AIC) is used to compare two different models estimating the disease risks of combined traffic noise. In comparison with the conventional energetic addition of noise levels, the multiplication of CVD risks as well as depression risks reveals a considerably better model fit as expressed by much lower AIC values. This is also the case when risk differences between different types of traffic noise are taken into account by applying supplements or reductions to the single traffic noise pressure levels in order to identify the best fitting energetic addition model. As a consequence, the conventionally performed energetic addition of noise levels might considerably underestimate the health risks of combined traffic noise. Based on the NORAH disease risk study, “epidemiological risk multiplication” seems to provide a better estimate of the health risks of combined traffic noise exposures compared to energetic addition. If confirmed in further studies, these results should imply consequences for noise protection measures as well as for traffic planning. View Full-Text
Keywords: traffic noise; disease risks; epidemiological risk multiplication; energetic noise addition traffic noise; disease risks; epidemiological risk multiplication; energetic noise addition
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Seidler, A.; Hegewald, J.; Seidler, A.L.; Schubert, M.; Zeeb, H. Is the Whole More Than the Sum of Its Parts? Health Effects of Different Types of Traffic Noise Combined. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 1665.

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