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Multilevel modelling of aircraft noise on performance tests in schools around Heathrow Airport London
  1. M M Haines1,
  2. S A Stansfeld1,
  3. J Head1,2,
  4. R F S Job3
  1. 1Department of Psychiatry, St Bartholomew's and The Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary College, University of London, UK
  2. 2Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London and the Royal Free Medical School, London, UK
  3. 3Department of Psychology, University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr M M Haines, Department of Psychiatry, St Bartholomew's and The Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary, University of London, Basic Medical Sciences Building, Mile End Road E1 4NS, UK;


Study objective: To examine the effects of chronic exposure to aircraft noise on children's school performance taking into account social class and school characteristics.

Design: This is a cross sectional study using the National Standardised Scores (SATs) in mathematics, science, and English (11 000 scores from children aged 11 years). The analyses used multilevel modelling to determine the effects of chronic aircraft noise exposure on childrens' school performance adjusting for demographic, socioeconomic and school factors in 123 primary schools around Heathrow Airport. Schools were assigned aircraft noise exposure level from the 1994 Civil Aviation Authority aircraft noise contour maps.

Setting: Primary schools.

Participants: The sample were approximately 11 000 children in year 6 (approximately 11 years old) from 123 schools in the three boroughs surrounding Heathrow Airport.

Main results: Chronic exposure to aircraft noise was significantly related to poorer reading and mathematics performance. After adjustment for the average socioeconomic status of the school intake (measured by percentage of pupils eligible for free school meals) these associations were no longer statistically significant.

Conclusions: Chronic exposure to aircraft noise is associated with school performance in reading and mathematics in a dose-response function but this association is confounded by socioeconomic factors.

  • children
  • performance
  • noise

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