Excessive noise, such as jet aircraft flying overhead, impairs childrens reading ability and long-term memory, a Cornell University environmental psychologist and his European colleagues conclude in a study of schoolchildren living near airports.
"This is the first long-term study of the same children before and after airports near them opened and closed. It nails down that it is almost certain that noise is causing the differences in childrens ability to learn to read," says Gary Evans, an international expert on environmental stress, such as noise, crowding and air pollution.
In the past, a host of other studies have suggested that loud environmental noise interferes with childrens ability to learn, but these studies primarily have been cross-sectional -- comparing children living near airports with children in quieter areas. The latest study was of German children who went from a noisy environment to a quiet one and children who went from a quiet neighborhood to a noisy one.
Susan S. Lang | EurekAlert!
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