People living near airports may be more susceptible to heart attacks and related medical issues, research has indicated.
A study led by Imperial College London analysed hospital admissions for cardiovascular diseases among residents whose homes are under Heathrow airport’s flight paths.
It found evidence of a “small increase in risk” for people who had experienced higher noise during the previous night. Men aged above 65 appeared to be particularly affected.
Researchers said aircraft noise has been found to disrupt sleep and raise blood pressure and stress hormone levels, which are factors linked to heart problems. They added: “These findings provide potential evidence that aircraft noise in the late evening and night-time may be associated with increased risk of cardiovascular hospitalisations and deaths.”
Evidence of an association between aircraft noise and deaths due to cardiovascular diseases was limited, although this could be attributed to a small sample size.
The research was based on figures recorded between 2014 and 2018 and published in the Environment International journal.
Aircraft noise has been a contentious issue during Heathrow’s long-running bid to gain permission to build a third runway.
Modern passenger planes are quieter than previous models but there are concerns an increase in flights will cause more disturbance.
Heathrow, which supported Imperial College London with the study, says reducing the impact of noise from flights is part of its sustainability strategy.
Airport bosses say they have cut its noise footprint by 28 percent since 2006.
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