Road traffic noise and children's inattention
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Background: An increasing number of children are exposed to road traffic noise levels that may lead to adverse effects on health and daily functioning. Childhood is a period of intense growth and brain maturation, and children may therefore be especially vulnerable to road traffic noise. The objective of the present study was to examine whether road traffic noise was associated with reported inattention symptoms in children, and whether this association was mediated by sleep duration.
Methods: This study was based on the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study conducted by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Parental reports of children’s inattention at age 8 were linked to modelled levels of residential road traffic noise. We investigated the association between inattention and noise exposure during pregnancy (n = 1934), noise exposure averaged over 5 years (age 3 to 8 years; n = 1384) and noise exposure at age 8 years (n = 1384), using fractional logit response models. The participants were children from Oslo, Norway.
Results: An association with inattention at age 8 years was found for road traffic noise exposure at age 8 years (coef = .0083, CI = [.0012, .0154]; 1.2% point increase in inattention score per 10 dB increase in noise level), road traffic noise exposure average for the last 5 years (coef = .0090, CI = [.0016, .0164]; 1.3% point increase/10 dB), and for pregnancy road traffic noise exposure for boys (coef = .0091, CI = [.0010, .0171]), but not girls (coef = −.0021, CI = [−.0094, .0053]). Criteria for doing mediation analyses were not fulfilled.
Conclusion: Results indicate that road traffic noise has a negative impact on children’s inattention. We found no mediation by sleep duration.