Burden of disease due to transportation noise in the Nordic countries

Gunn Marit Aasvang*, Leo Stockfelt, Mette Sørensen, Anu W. Turunen, Nina Roswall, Tarja Yli-Tuomi, Mikael Ögren, Timo Lanki, Jenny Selander, Natalia Vincens, Andrei Pyko, Göran Pershagen, Gerhard Sulo, Anette Kocbach Bølling

*Corresponding author

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


Background: Environmental noise is of increasing concern for public health. Quantification of associated health impacts is important for regulation and preventive strategies. Aim: To estimate the burden of disease (BoD) due to road traffic and railway noise in four Nordic countries and their capitals, in terms of DALYs (Disability-Adjusted Life Years), using comparable input data across countries. Method: Road traffic and railway noise exposure was obtained from the noise mapping conducted according to the Environmental Noise Directive (END) as well as nationwide noise exposure assessments for Denmark and Norway. Noise annoyance, sleep disturbance and ischaemic heart disease were included as the main health outcomes, using exposure-response functions from the WHO, 2018 systematic reviews. Additional analyses included stroke and type 2 diabetes. Country-specific DALY rates from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study were used as health input data. Results: Comparable exposure data were not available on a national level for the Nordic countries, only for capital cities. The DALY rates for the capitals ranged from 329 to 485 DALYs/100,000 for road traffic noise and 44 to 146 DALY/100,000 for railway noise. Moreover, the DALY estimates for road traffic noise increased with up to 17% upon inclusion of stroke and diabetes. DALY estimates based on nationwide noise data were 51 and 133% higher than the END-based estimates, for Norway and Denmark, respectively. Conclusion: Further harmonization of noise exposure data is required for between-country comparisons. Moreover, nationwide noise models indicate that DALY estimates based on END considerably underestimate national BoD due to transportation noise. The health-related burden of traffic noise was comparable to that of air pollution, an established risk factor for disease in the GBD framework. Inclusion of environmental noise as a risk factor in the GBD is strongly encouraged.

TidsskriftEnvironmental Research
StatusUdgivet - 15 aug. 2023

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by NordForsk [Grant number 83597].


  • Burden of disease
  • Environmental epidemiology
  • Environmental health
  • Exposure-response
  • Public health
  • Railway noise
  • Road traffic noise

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