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.
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