Traffic noise may affect child development

Traffic noise may affect child development

The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) will investigate the influence of traffic noise on the development of children. The reason is a recent German study in which five-year-olds living in an environment with a lot of traffic noise can lag behind in their development by up to three months.

The University of Wuppertal concluded that five-year-olds sleep less well due to traffic noise and develop less well. 

Preschoolers exposed to traffic noise of more than 10 decibels in the night can lag behind up to three months in their development on children who are not affected.

By a test that all German pre-schoolers get before they start at primary school, the researchers found that the developmental delay was measurable on several fronts. For example, it related to motor skills, language and arithmetic.

German researches do not think that the average noise level in Wuppertal (67) is very different from the situation in most American or British cities. A large proportion of people live in urban areas in the US and UK.

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