oa South African Family Practice - A preliminary study of the effects of aircraft noise on families who reside in close proximity to an airport : original research



The use of air transportation has grown in the last century, escalating the noise exposure of families residing in close proximity to airports. The audiological effects need to be assessed to determine the impact of this increase on children and young adults living near to airports in South Africa.

Hearing patterns for these individuals were compared to those residing 30 km away from the airport. Sixty people, between the ages of 12-30 years, were assessed. Participants completed a questionnaire and were subjected to a diagnostic audiological test battery and tested using diagnostic distortion product oto-acoustic emissions (DPOAEs).
Participants residing in close proximity to the airport presented with a notch configuration in the high frequencies, as opposed to those who lived further away. DPOAEs indicated a change in hearing in the high frequencies between the test populations. The positive relationship between the pure tone results and the DPOAEs strengthens the claim that aircraft noise has an effect on the hearing patterns of individuals living near to airports. Participants also experienced annoyance resulting from such noise.
The results highlight the need for investigation into the hearing of individuals who reside in close proximity to airports. Comprehensive studies will be informative and beneficial to the field of audiology in South Africa. The highlighted health and safety issues require in-depth study to formulate a stronger argument for monitoring the hearing of families who are exposed to aircraft noise.


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