Aircraft noise impairs patient recovery

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Aircraft noise harmful to health at the university clinic in Mainz

Numerous people in Germany see are exposed to such considerable noise pollution in everyday life that they can be detrimental to their health. A current report on aircraft noise pollution at the University Clinic in Mainz has now shown that the health of the patients could be further endangered by the very high noise levels on the campus of university medicine.

The measurement results presented on Thursday by the State Environment Agency of Rhineland-Palatinate and the University Medical Center Mainz, the mobile aircraft noise measuring station set up in February 2013, recorded peak values ​​of up to 76 decibels (dB) at night. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), "harmful externalities can be measured at night with external averaging levels of 40 dB (A)", explained the President of the Rhineland-Palatinate State Environment Agency, Dr. Stefan Hill, together with the deputy medical director of the University Medical Center Mainz, Professor Dr. Karl Lackner and the director of the 2nd Medical Clinic and Polyclinic, Professor Dr. Thomas Münzel. For the patients in the Mainz University Clinic, exposure to aircraft noise could result in a significant delay in recovery, the experts fear.

Aircraft noise peaks are reached at night According to the University Medical Center in Mainz, the mobile aircraft noise measurement station recorded "on average around 4,300 aircraft noise events per month for February, March and April 2013", although it should be borne in mind that flight movements during the holiday season in usually increase significantly again. The measuring station recorded the maximum peak between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. on April 27 with a remarkable 76.5 decibels. Normally "the maximum level of overflights was between 60 and 65 decibels", reports the University Medical Center Mainz. Particularly high maximum levels and therefore very loud aircraft noise events were often to be found in the morning hours between five and eight o'clock, with deviations in the measured values ​​“also due to the different wind directions and the corresponding flight routes”, the experts explained. During the day, the spectrum of the measured values ​​ranged from 34 to 53 decibels in the west and 45 to 54 decibels in the east. For the night, the averaging levels were between 19 and 46 decibels in the west operating direction and between 37 and 45 decibels in the east operating direction.

Averaged noise pollution leads to distortion Since the calculation of the aircraft noise is based on averaging levels, i.e. the one-off peak loads are averaged over a longer period of time, the legal requirements at many airports are adhered to, even though noise from residents and other people affected is already extremely unpleasant is perceived. An example is the alarm clock, from which most people are woken up every morning. If the alarm clock noise were averaged over an hour or night, no one could wake up. There is a weak point in the current legal requirements, which have been heavily criticized by aircraft noise opponents across Germany for years.

A plane every two to three minutes. The recommendations of the world health authorities “for reasonable noise pollution were exceeded on numerous days over the Mainz University Clinic. "After Weisenau and Laubenheim, the University Medical Center is the third most polluted station in the state in terms of flight noise levels," explained the President of the State Office for the Environment, Water Management and Trade Inspection Rhineland-Palatinate, Dr. Stefan Hill. Such high averaging levels are achieved through the high number of flight movements. In March 2013, for example, 5,026 events were recorded by the aircraft noise measurement station. "On days with an easterly weather situation, this meant an overflight every two to three minutes," reports the Mainz University Medical Center.

Patients are additionally affected by aircraft noise “We have to assume that patients who suffer from cardiovascular diseases or who have already suffered a heart attack and stroke are further endangered by these very high noise levels, which are measured on the campus of university medicine be. ", explained Professor Dr. Thomas Münzel, Director of the 2nd Medical Clinic and Polyclinic of the University Medical Center Mainz. "I am particularly worried about the high noise levels during the off-peak hours from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. to 6 a.m., because these are the times when heart attacks and strokes typically occur," Prof. Münzel continued.

Significant reduction in aircraft noise required The Deputy Medical Director of the University Medical Center Mainz, Prof. Dr. Karl Lackner, was concerned about the aircraft noise pollution. “University medicine is primarily committed to the well-being of its patients. Especially for seriously ill patients of all ages, it has been proven that noise pollution is detrimental to recovery, "emphasized Prof. Lackner and added:" For this reason, we emphatically demand that the area of ​​university medicine with all clinics in Mainz be relieved and expect with regard to that unsettling current measurement results that all options for active sound insulation are being used - especially at sensitive times. ”However, it remains open whether the demand will be heard. (fp)

Also read about aircraft noise:
Night flight noise permanently increases blood pressure
Study on noise pollution at the new major airport
Increased cardiovascular risk from noise
Aircraft noise increases the risk of heart attack

Photo credit: Dieter Hopf /

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