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01-02-2010 | Uitgave 1/2010

Quality of Life Research 1/2010

Impact of road traffic noise annoyance on health-related quality of life: results from a population-based study

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 1/2010
Julia Dratva, Elisabeth Zemp, Denise Felber Dietrich, Pierre-Olivier Bridevaux, Thierry Rochat, Christian Schindler, Margaret W. Gerbase
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s11136-009-9571-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



To estimate the impact of traffic-related noise annoyance on health-related quality of life (HrQoL) in a population-based study and potential effect modification by gender.


The study included 5,021 participants of the Swiss Cohort Study of Air Pollution and Lung Disease in Adults second survey. The association between traffic-related noise annoyance, measured on an 11-point scale, and HrQoL, based on SF-36 scores, was investigated by multivariate regression analysis. Effect sizes were calculated, and interactions by gender and chronic disease status examined.


Thirteen percentage of the study population reported high annoyance due to traffic. Women were more likely to report high noise annoyance (adjOR 1.23; 95%CI 1.01–1.48). Except for general health, all SF-36 scores showed a significant negative association with noise annoyance. The respective effect sizes ranged between 0.13 and 0.54. Significant effect modification by gender and chronic disease status was present in specific SF-36 domains.


This paper presents first evidence of an inverse relationship of noise annoyance and HrQoL in a general population. Although the estimated effects are small to moderate for individuals, they may add up to a relevant public health impact.

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