The aim of this study was to review epidemiological studies on the association between chronic exposures to road traffic noise and prevalence of arterial hypertension as well as blood pressure by using meta-analyses.
A systematic literature search in the databases Medline and Web of science™ as well as the database OpenGrey was conducted to identify suitable studies, namely epidemiological observational studies assessing objective exposures to road traffic noise at the subject’s home place with analysis of their potential associations with arterial hypertension or blood pressure. Whenever possible, overall effects for the different relationships were estimated with meta-analyses. For statistical analyses R for windows was used.
A total of 31 eligible studies were identified. Meta-analyses were conducted for potential association between road traffic noise and prevalence of arterial hypertension in adults and for association with systolic and diastolic blood pressure in adults and children. There was a significant (p<0.01) increase of risk for arterial hypertension in adults when exposed to chronic road traffic noise with an increment of 7% per 5 dB(A). Overall effects for systolic blood pressure were positive but weak for children as well as adults without any statistical significance. For diastolic blood pressure there appeared to be no relationship with chronic exposure to road traffic noise in either of the two groups.
Considering the multiple methodological limitations of studies examined as well as the high level of heterogeneity in all random effects models, the estimated overall effects must be interpreted with caution. To examine potential associations between road traffic noise and arterial hypertension or measured blood pressure appropriately, more prospective cohort studies are necessary with precise assessments of noise exposure as well as clinical endpoints and with adjustments for relevant cofactors.

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.