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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 52  |  Page : 234--250

Cardiovascular effects of environmental noise: Research in Austria


1 Department of Hygiene, Microbiology, and Social Medicine, Medical University Innsbruck Med Univ Innsbruck, Sonnenburgstraße 16, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria
2 Acoustics Group, Department of Information Technology, Gent University, Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 41, B-9000 Gent, Belgium
3 AUDI AG, Abt. I/EK-5, D-85045 Ingolstadt, Germany
4 Technical University of Graz, Infeldgasse 21a, A-8010 Graz, Austria
5 University of Innsbruck, Technikerstrasse 13, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria

Correspondence Address:
Peter Lercher
Department of Hygiene, Microbiology, and Social Medicine, Medical University Innsbruck, Sonnenburgstraße 16, A-6020 Innsbruck
Austria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1463-1741.80160

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Cardiovascular effects of noise rank second in terms of disability-adjusted life year (DALYs) after annoyance. Although research during the past decade has consolidated the available data base, the most recent meta-analysis still shows wide confidence intervals - indicating imprecise information for public health risk assessment. The alpine area of Tyrol in the Austrian part of the Alps has experienced a massive increase in car and heavy goods traffic (road and rail) during the last 35 years. Over the past 25 years small-, middle-, and large-sized epidemiological health surveys have been conducted - mostly within the framework of environmental health impact assessments. By design, these studies have emphasized a contextually driven environmental stress perspective, where the adverse health effects on account of noise are studied in a broader framework of environmental health, susceptibility, and coping. Furthermore, innovative exposure assessment strategies have been implemented. This article reviews the existing knowledge from these studies over time, and presents the exposure-response curves, with and without interaction assessment, based on standardized re-analyses and discusses it in the light of past and current cardiovascular noise effects research. The findings support relevant moderation by age, gender, and family history in nearly all studies and suggest a strong need for consideration of non-linearity in the exposure-response analyses. On the other hand, air pollution has not played a relevant role as a moderator in the noise-hypertension or the noise-angina pectoris relationship. Finally, different noise modeling procedures can introduce variations in the exposure response curves, with substantive consequences for public health risk assessment of noise exposure.






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