Alliance of Residents Concerning O'Hare Inc.
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People who live close to airports suffer more than mere annoyance from ascending and descending aircraft. Aircraft noise may significantly impact the mental and physical health of people who live below the flight paths of commercial and private airplanes. Since the 1970s, numerous studies have found aircraft noise linked to:
  • stress
  • hypertension
  • sleep disturbances
  • work-related performance
  • learning and academic performance

These trends need further analysis and documentation. Unfortunately, due to lack of federal funding for noise research, studies have not been conducted. The Office of Noise Abatement and Control (ONAC), part of the Environmental Protection Agency, was established in 1972 as a result of the Noise Control Act passed by Congress. Unfortunately, severe budget cuts during the 1980s have reduced this office to a skeleton staff incapable of meeting the public's demands for more research.

Morrow, Lance. "Airline Pollution: The Sky Has Its Limits." Time Magazine. May. 07, 2001. Air traffic is getting noisier and dirtier, and the FAA is doing a lousy job of controlling it.
Noise as a hazard: Medical professionals talk about the health effects of night-flights. NEW!
US-EPA. "Noise: a health problem." 1978
US-EPA. "Sound Levels and Relative Loudness"

Airport Noise
Noise & Health
Noise & Children's Learning
Noise & Children's Health
Noise & Children's Behavior
Noise Levels Common in Our Environment
World Health Organization; Guidelines for Community Noise

Noise Studies, Children:

Additional Resources:

Bronzaft, A. L. Effects of Noise. In Encyclopedia of Environmental Science and Engineering. (1998). Edited by J. R. Pfafflin and E. N. Ziegler. Netherlands: Gordon and Breach Science Publishers.

Review article includes definition of sound and noise, physiological and psychological effects of noise, responsibility of government, planning and designing for quiet, and discussion of efforts of organizations combating noises.

Bronzaft, A. L. Noise Sources, Health Impacts and Legal Remedies: A Psychologist's Perspective. (1998). Environmental Law in New York. New York: Matthew Bender.

Discusses the sources of noises and mental and physical health impacts but the major focus is on the law and noise on the federal and New York State level.

Bronzaft, A., Ahern, K. D., McGinn, R., O'Connor, J. and Savino, B. Aircraft Noise: A Potential Health Hazard. In Environment and Behavior, January 1998, Volume 30, pp 101-113.

Abstract: A questionnaire distributed to two groups, one living within the flight pattern of a major airport and the other in a nonflight area, sought to determine whether these groups would respond differently to questionnaires pertaining to noise, health perception, and quality of life issues. Nearly 70% of the residents living within the flight corridors reported themselves bothered by aircraft noise. Aircraft noise, in contrast to other bothersome noises, interfered more frequently with daily activities. Subjects who were bothered aircraft noise were more likely to complain of sleep difficulties and more likely to perceive themselves to be in poorer health. This study's finding of a possible realtionship betweeen noise and adverse health effects might encourage policy makers to enact pending antinoise legislation and to fund further noise research.

Please share this study with public officials, neighbors, and all interested in effects of noise on health. With 70% of the subjects reporting being bothered by noise, it can't be said that only a few are bothered. Daily activities interfered with: watching television, sleeping, opening windows, sleep. These are all important to a good "quality of life."

For more information: Contact Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., 505 E. 79th Street, New York, NY 10021. -- email:

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