Health and Psychological Effects of Noise Pollution

We know that noise pollution has adverse health and psychological effects:

Noise pollution may cause or contribute to the following adverse effects: anxiety, stress, nervousness, nausea, headache, emotional instability, argumentativeness, sexual impotence, changes in mood, increase in social conflicts, neurosis, hysteria, and psychosis.  Population studies have suggested associations between noise and mental-health indicators, such as rating of well-being, symptom profiles, the use of psychoactive drugs and sleeping pills, and mental-hospital admission rates.  Children, the elderly, and those with underlying depression may be particularly vulnerable to these effects, because they may lack adequate coping mechanisms.  Children in noisy environments find the noise annoying and report a diminished quality of life. 

Noise levels above 80 dB are associated with both an increase in aggressive behavior and a decrease in behavior helpful to others. The news media regularly report violent behavior arising out of disputes over noise; in many cases these disputes ended in injury or death.  The aforementioned effects of noise may help explain some of the dehumanization seen in the modern, congested, and noisy urban environment.

Were you aware that there were plans — in response to new federal requirements for a “runway safety area” — to extend a runway at JFK?

Because of Nassau County community complaints about increased aircraft noise in residential areas,the Port Authority has revamped its JFK Airport plan:

Now as for LaGuardia…

I drive by LaGuardia on the Grand Central Parkway every week to go to my Queens office. The planes fly low enough that I can clearly see the aircraft undercarriage.

Once, I was evaluating an inmate at Rikers Island in a room just under the take off path of the runway. It seemed as if planes were taking off about every 30 seconds. Not quite, 50 seconds: “the current cap, 71 scheduled flights per hour during peak times at LaGuardia, and 81 per hour at Newark and JFK, are in effect until October 2013.”

It was nerve wracking.

Although there are more flights at Newark and JFK, LaGuardia is a hop and a skip away from populated parts of Queens County. And Rikers Island is nowhere near Newark and JFK.

LaGuardia to the left; Rikers


I wonder if there might be an impact on inmate behavior stemming from La Guardia noise pollution?

Food…make that noise…for thought.



One thought on “Health and Psychological Effects of Noise Pollution

  1. Pingback: The cruel and increasingly usual punishment of prison heat islands | Grist | Enjeux énergies et environnement

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