Nordic studies on occupational and traffic noise in relation to disease (NordSOUND)

Noise is an unavoidable pollutant in modern society. Increasing traffic in all modes of transport, combined with daily exposure to noise at work, render a large part of the population exposed to noise over the entire day, without access to restorative environments, neither at work nor at home. Research has found traffic noise to increase the risk for cardiovascular disease. As noise acts as a stressor and disturbs sleep, it may also increase the risk of other major diseases. Almost no studies have investigated joint effects of traffic and occupational noise exposure on population health.

NordSOUND aims to fill these knowledge-gaps using Nordic cohorts, high-quality Nordic registers, and unique noise exposure models, constituting an unequalled data source, to assess single and joint effects of traffic and occupational noise in development of diseases and conditions of great public health concern. We hypothesize that:

* Occupational and residential traffic noise increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, cancer, pregnancy complications, low birth weight, perinatal mortality, and congenital malformations

* Traffic noise results in a high burden of disease

* There are socio-economic inequalities in the distribution of traffic noise and the relationship between noise and health

The aims are addressed through:

1. Standardization of noise exposure assessment across Scandinavia

2. Investigating health effects of traffic and occupational noise in 150.000 adult, Nordic cohort participants

3. Evaluation of traffic and occupational noise effects on risk of pregnancy complications and birth outcomes, with special focus on socioeconomic position, in 6.4 mio. Nordic city-dwellers, based on noise maps and population-based registries

4. Estimation of burden of disease from traffic noise in the Nordic countries, focusing on social inequality

NordSOUND will provide new insights of high public relevance, as the first study on joint effects of traffic and occupational noise, in relation to health outcomes over the life course. Given the increasing noise occurrence from both industrialization and traffic, the study address an increasing challenge for the Nordic welfare systems. NordSOUND will contribute essential knowledge on exposure-response functions for noise in relation to health effects. This knowledge is required to achieve successful changes in policy and help formulate preventive strategies; hereby generating long-term societal and scientific impact.