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Exposure to aircraft noise may affect children's reading and memory

ssor Stansfeld comments: "These exposure-effect associations, in combination with results from earlier studies, suggest a causal effect of exposure to aircraft noise on children's reading comprehension. This effect is significant though small in magnitude, but does show a linear exposure-effect relation. In practical terms, aircraft noise might have only a small effect on the development of reading, but the effect of long-term exposure remains unknown.

"Our results are relevant to the design and placement of schools in relation to airports, to the formulation of policy on noise and child health, and to a wider consideration of the effect of environmental stressors on children's cognitive development."

In an accompanying comment Peter Rabinowitz (Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, USA) states: "Stansfeld and co-workers' study adds to developing literature about the negative effect of noise on learning. Schools located near airports have come under particular scrutiny. In one study, 326 German school children matched for socioeconomic status were followed up prospectively as the old Munich airport was replaced by a new international facility. Children attending schools near the airport improved their reading scores and cognitive memory performance as the airport shut down, while children going to school near the new airport experienced a decrease in testing scores."


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Contact: Joe Santangelo
j.santangelo@elsevier.com
1-212-633-3810
Lancet
2-Jun-2005


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