Exposure to aircraft noise and risk of psychiatric disorders: the Elmas survey
Evidence that high levels of aircraft noise lead to psychiatric disorders in the community is contradictory. The aim of the present study was to investigate the frequency of mental disorders in a sample living in the immediate surroundings of an airport compared with those from a sample of residents from the same region who had not been exposed to the risk of aircraft noise.
Exposed subjects were residents in Giliaquas in the vicinity of Elmas airport (Sardinia, Italy). The control sample was drawn from a database of a large community survey, after matching for sex, age and employment status. All subjects were interviewed using a simplified version of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview.
Exposed subjects showed a higher frequency of Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Anxiety Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (NOS).
Previous studies generally suggested that high levels of environmental noise are associated with subsyndromal states (psychiatric symptoms) more than with specific syndromes. The present study shows an increased risk for long-lasting syndromal anxiety states (Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Anxiety Disorder NOS), thus supporting the hypothesis of a sustained central autonomic arousal due to chronic exposure to noise.
Key wordsaircraft noise community surveys psychiatric disorders mental health environmental noise noise exposure
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