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Environmental noise and health in low-middle-income-countries_ A systematic review of epidemiological evidence _ Elsevier Enhanced Reader.pdf (5.51 MB)

Environmental noise and health in low-middle-income-countries: A systematic review of epidemiological evidence.

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-12-09, 16:29 authored by Yingxin Chen, Anna L Hansell, Sierra Clark, Yutong Samuel Cai
Evidence of health impacts from environmental noise has largely been drawn from studies in high-income countries, which has then been used to inform development of noise guidelines. It is unclear whether findings in high-income countries can be readily translated into policy contexts in low-middle-income-countries (LMICs). We conducted this systematic review to summarise noise epidemiological studies in LMICs. We conducted a literature search of studies in Medline and Web of Science published during 2009-2021, supplemented with specialist journal hand searches. Screening, data extraction, assessment of risk of bias as well as overall quality and strength of evidence were conducted following established guidelines (e.g. Navigation Guide). 58 studies were identified, 53% of which were from India, China and Bulgaria. Most (92%) were cross-sectional studies. 64% of studies assessed noise exposure based on fixed-site measurements using sound level meters and 21% from noise models. Mean noise exposure among all studies ranged from 48 to 120 dB (Leq), with over half of the studies (52%) reporting the mean between 60 and 80 dB. The most studied health outcome was noise annoyance (43% of studies), followed by cardiovascular (17%) and mental health outcomes (17%). Studies generally reported a positive (i.e. adverse) relationship between noise exposure and annoyance. Some limited evidence based on only two studies showing that long-term noise exposure may be associated with higher prevalence of cardiovascular outcomes in adults. Findings on mental health outcomes were inconsistent across the studies. Overall, 3 studies (5%) had "probably low", 19 (33%) had "probably high" and 36 (62%) had "high" risk of bias. Quality of evidence was rated as 'low' for mental health outcomes and 'very low' for all other outcomes. Strength of evidence for each outcome was assessed as 'inadequate', highlighting high-quality epidemiological studies are urgently needed in LMICs to strengthen the evidence base.


We acknowledge support from National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Protection Research Unit in Environmental Exposures and Health, a partnership between UK Health Security Agency, the Health and Safety Executive and the University of Leicester.


Author affiliation

Centre for Environmental Health and Sustainability; The National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) in Environmental Exposure and Health


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Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987)








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