- Understanding aviation noise
- Health impacts of noise
- Mental health and wellbeing
Mental health is often studied as part of the health-related quality of life (HQoL). Health-related quality of life is part of the broader concept of quality of life which, in addition, includes other aspects such as material living conditions, productivity or main activity, education, leisure and social interactions, economic and physical safety, governance and fundamental rights, natural and living environment, and overall life satisfaction (e.g. EUROSTAT, 2017).
Health-related quality of life is viewed as a multidimensional concept as it incorporates a person’s physical health and psychological state, that is, it is the “individual’s perception of his/her position in life in the context of the culture and value systems in which he/she lives in” (WHO, 1995). The concepts of both wellbeing and health-related quality of life are often used interchangeably, as they look at a person in his/her social environment, but they differ in that the concept of wellbeing focuses more generally on positive affect and satisfaction (Meiselman, 2016). Mental health, however, is wellbeing in a psychological manner, corresponding to emotional and cognitive functioning.
Summary of WHO review on the impact of aircraft noise on mental health and wellbeing
The World Health Organisation’s review of the relationship between aircraft noise exposure and quality of life, wellbeing and mental health found inconsistent results. Due to the small number of studies, the WHO indicated that it was not possible to interpret the results.
Updated review on aircraft-noise related mental health and wellbeing
In the updated ANIMA review, seven studies were included, which examined the impact of aircraft noise exposure on self-reported quality of life and wellbeing, self-reported depression, anxiety or (other) psychological symptoms, and interview measures of diagnosed unipolar depression.
Type of study
Number of studies
Aircraft noise and short-term measures of wellbeing (using an experience sampling method linking psychological data with noise contour data)
Higher levels of aircraft noise exposure are negatively associated with wellbeing
Aircraft noise and long-term quality of life in children and adults
Both studies indicated that higher levels of aircraft noise are linked to poorer mental health-related quality of life, which covers the concepts of psychological distress and psychological wellbeing in the subdomain mental-health-related quality of life in the health survey questionnaire
Aircraft noise and self-reported depression and psychological symptoms
Both studies observed no association between aircraft noise levels and depression scores or psychological distress
Aircraft noise and manifest diagnosed depressions (using health insurance data of residents in the vicinity of Frankfurt Airport)
Results indicate a significant relationship between aircraft noise exposure and diagnosed unipolar depression in an inverted u-shape with a peak of risk increase at 50 – 55 dB
In line with the WHO review, there are inconsistent findings. However, studies suggest that aircraft noise exposure has an impact on quality of life measures as well as on diagnosed depressions.