We have long known that living on the flight path of a major airport can damage homeowners’ health and well-being. Excessive noise, disrupted sleep and stress can lead to fatigue, hypertension, heart disease, cognitive impairment and poor mental health.
The problem of noise from Heathrow Airport’s flight path, in particular, is a significant and long-standing issue that affects the lives of millions of residents living underneath it. New research into their cardiovascular hospital admissions painted a more urgent and worrying picture. According to a study conducted by researchers from Imperial College London and the University of Leicester, late-night aircraft noise over Heathrow’s residential areas is associated with a rise in hospital admissions for heart-related issues the subsequent day.
Professor Marta Blangiardo of the UK School of Public Health confirms the findings saying,
“Airplane noise, particularly late at night and in the early hours, potentially increases risk in cardiovascular hospitalisations.”
The team of academic researchers checked hospital admissions and mortality data in a population of 6.3 million individuals residing near Heathrow Airport over four years – from 2014 to 2018. Using environmental modelling, they discovered that a mere 10-decibel increase in noise during the previous evening and early morning could be linked to an increase in cardiovascular disease hospital admissions. This risk was more pronounced in men over the age of 65.
The resulting study, entitled “Aircraft Noise and Cardiovascular Morbidity and Mortality near Heathrow Airport: A Case-Crossover Study” didn’t prove the definitive cause of the increase in urgent medical cases. Further work is required to find those results but sleep disturbance is possibly the most plausible medical explanation. Even a slight increase in late-night and early-hour noise can disrupt an individual’s sleep patterns and this, we know, leads in turn to a temporary rise in blood pressure, activation of the sympathetic nervous system and a release of adrenaline. These factors potentially elevate the risk of cardiovascular issues and any resulting trip to the hospital.
Many homeowners near Heathrow, and other UK, airports have already experienced the benefits of soundproof windows in their homes. We have kept ourselves busy building and installing expertly engineered windows for years. We know they can, and do, reduce noise entering your home by up to 300%.
While there is still a question mark over direct cause and effect, it is comforting to know that by protecting our customers’ sleep we are reducing the risk of health problems. This research, published in July 2023 by ELSEVIER’s Environment International Journal, demonstrates we might be keeping them out of hospital too, which is good news for everyone.
If you are concerned about how aircraft noise is impacting your sleep patterns, you can read more about the science here or contact our team and book a site visit so we can demonstrate the difference our soundproof windows could make to your life.