Sick of noise: the health effects of loud neighbours and urban din


Urban residential neighbour noise is ubiquitous but its effects are relatively under-researched. Neighbour noise is difficult to measure and is often locally controlled under nuisance, rather than environmental health, regulations. We analyze the health effects of residential noise annoyance using a high quality longitudinal survey of over 5000 adults in the Netherlands between 2007 and 2013. We find surprisingly widespread health effects of residential noise annoyance, with neighbour noise relatively more damaging than street noise. To address endogeneity concerns with cross sectional analysis we then exploit the time dimension of the panel and employ conditional fixed effect logistic estimation to control for unobservable time-invariant characteristics of individuals, conditioning only on initially healthy respondents to mitigate concerns of reverse-causality. We continue to find surprisingly strong and robust effects of neighbour noise annoyance on a variety of health outcomes including cardio-vascular symptoms, joint and bone disease, and headache.