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Residential road traffic noise in early childhood may be associated with behavioral problems like hyperactivity

New research published in Environmental Health Perspectives, with the participation of researchers from CREAL

Monday, July 13th, 2015

Residential road traffic noise in early childhood may be associated with behavioral problems like hyperactivity

This new research published in Environmental Health Perspectives, with the participation of researchers from CREAL, an ISGlobal allied research center, has found that residential road traffic noise in early childhood may be associated with behavioral problems, particularly hyperactivity/inattention symptoms. However, the researchers found that the exposure to road traffic noise during pregnancy was not associated with child behavioral problems at 7 years of age.

Exposure to traffic noise is considerable in many parts of the world and has been associated with health effects among adults, including psychological symptoms such as anxiety and changes in mood. Children are also suspected to be vulnerable to traffic noise, especially during sensitive stages of development. Studies investigating effects on neuropsychological development due to traffic noise exposure in children have mainly focused on learning and cognitive performance, with consistent findings of impairment in reading and memory of aircraft noise exposure.

The researchers investigated whether residential road traffic noise exposure is associated with behavioral problems in 7 year old children and they have identified 46,940 children from the Danish National Birth Cohort with complete information on behavioral problems at 7 years of age and complete address history from conception to 7 years of age. Road traffic noise was modelled at all present and historical addresses. Behavioral problems were assessed by the parent-reported Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Associations between pregnancy and childhood exposure to noise and behavioral problems were analyzed by multinomial or logistic regression.

“We have found that a 10 dB increase in average time-weighted road traffic noise exposure from birth to 7 years of age was associated with a 7% increase in abnormal versus normal total difficulties scores;  5% and 9% increases in borderline and abnormal hyperactivity/inattention subscale scores, respectively; and 5% and 6% increases in abnormal conduct problem and peer relationship problem subscale scores, respectively”, explains Jordi Sunyer, CREAL researcher.

Reference:

Hjortebjerg D, Andersen AM, Christensen JS, Ketzel M, Raaschou-Nielsen O, Sunyer J, Julvez J, Forns J, Sorensen M. Exposure to Road Traffic Noise and Behavioral Problems in 7-Year-Old Children: A Cohort Study. Environ Health Perspect 2015 (in press)

Image: Traffic (by Gemma Longman)


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