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Reaction to study linking traffic noise near schools to children's cognitive development

A study published in PLoS Medicine examines the effect of traffic noise near schools on children's attention and memory development, compared to those who study in quieter environments.

02/06/2022 - 20:00 CEST
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Jon Andoni Duñabeitia - ruido

Jon Andoni Duñabeitia

Director of the Nebrija Research Center on Cognition

Science Media Centre Spain

This study monitors the cognitive development of a very large number of schoolchildren in areas that are critical for learning, to investigate the possible influence of road traffic noise in the streets around schools.

Existing data so far pointed to an effect of noise pollution on cognitive skills, but this study makes significant progress with a longitudinal view that allows us to conclude that there is a direct relationship between the existence of a high level of traffic noise and slower cognitive development in children.

At the methodological level, both the size and representativeness of the sample and the care taken to explore the role of other variables that might influence the results are surprisingly positive. Thus, the results are solid and leave no room for doubt: noise pollution associated with traffic has a negative impact on the cognitive health of our children. This study invites to develop actions to reduce noise levels in cities, and to implement cognitive stimulation programmes for students in schools in areas with high noise pollution.

The author has not responded to our request to declare conflicts of interest
Exposure to road traffic noise and cognitive development in schoolchildren in Barcelona, Spain: A population-based cohort study
  • Research article
  • Peer reviewed
  • People
PLoS Medicine

María Foraster et al.

Study types:
  • Research article
  • Peer reviewed
  • People
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