Annoyance and health risk caused by military low-altitude flight noise

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Summary

Effects of noise of low-flying military jet aircraft were investigated from demoscopic and epidemiological points of view. Areas with different low-altitude flight noise exposure were compared with one another as to subjective annoyance, casual blood pressure and ear symptoms. With the same energy equivalent sound pressure level (Leq), the subjective disturbance caused by military low-altitude flight noise was essentially greater than that due to ordinary flight noise (in the neighbourhood of civil airports). A comparison of several areas revealed that frequencies of ear symptoms (tinnitus lasting more than one hour and permanent hearing threshold shifts of > 30 dB) were higher only in areas where maximal flight noise levels considerably exceeded 115 dB (A) accompanied by rapid noise level increases. Blood pressure measurements yielded significantly higher values (group difference 9 mm Hg systolic) in girls living in these highly exposed areas. Acoustic limits are proposed with respect to public health.