Updated 02 November 2015

Does aeroplane noise cause high blood pressure?

The noise created by low-flying planes does not raise the blood pressure of people on the ground, five-year study shows.


A German study released on Thursday showed noise created by low-flying planes does not raise the blood pressure of people on the ground, however it that constant loud transport noise can lead to depression.

The finding, announced in Germany's principal air cargo and passenger hub Frankfurt, is a setback to citizens who argue that hearing jets overhead causes early death. They are also campaigning to limit noise along airport flight paths.

Read: Why do people get air rage?

Using an acronym for Noise-Related Annoyance, Cognition and Health, the five-year NORAH study focused on 2 500 people in each of three German cities. The blood pressure of 844 participants was closely tracked, and health insurance records of 1 million people were also analysed.

The study confirmed that constant loud transport noise can lead to depression and reduces the ability of children to learn.

The authors said too little attention had been paid in the past to the psychological effects of repeated exposure to noise.

Noise from flight routes and railway lines is a divisive political issue in Germany, pitting supporters of economic growth against residents who say noise has become the worst blight of city life. The study was ordered in a bid to bring more facts into the debate.

Frankfurt is as vital to German exporters as it is to Chinese firms that need to courier products to Europe rapidly. In 2011, the airport was ordered to shut for six hours for every night, angering business lobbies.

Johann-Dietrich Woerner, a board member of the government-funded Frankfurt Forum on the Airport and the Region that commissioned the study, said it was the most comprehensive analysis worldwide on the effects of transport noise on health and quality of life.

Also read:

Aeroplanes still a serious risk for those with nut allergies

6 foods to avoid when travelling

8 holiday safety tips for seniors


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Hypertension expert

Dr Jacomien de Villiers qualified as a specialist physician at the University of Pretoria in 1995. She worked at various clinics at the Department of Internal Medicine, Steve Biko Hospital, these include General Internal Medicine, Hypertension, Diabetes and Cardiology. She has run a private practice since 2001, as well as a consultant post at the Endocrine Clinic of Steve Biko Hospital.

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