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Your Environment. Your Health.

A Community Approach to Studying Noise and Health

Partnerships for Environmental Public Education (PEPH)

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portrait of woman walking on the city street covering her ears concept of noise pollution

A Community Approach to Studying Noise and Health

October 25, 2018

Interviewee: Erica Walker, Sc.D.

In this podcast, we will talk about efforts to raise awareness of noise pollution and work to engage communities in documenting their noise experience.

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A Community Approach to Studying Noise and Health

Many of us know that exposure to certain factors in our environment, such as air pollution or contaminants in drinking water, can harm our health. But did you know that noise is also an environmental exposure that can affect health? Research shows that noise exposure can increase stress levels, disrupt our sleep, and affect our cardiovascular and mental health. Yet despite being a common and widespread exposure, people have been slow to recognize noise as a serious health risk. Erica Walker, Sc.D., a noise researcher at the Boston University School of Public Health, aims to change that. In this podcast, Walker will talk about her efforts to raise awareness of noise pollution and her work to engage communities in documenting their noise experience. Listen to learn more.

Interviewee

Erica Walker, Sc.D.

Erica Walker, Sc.D., is a post-doctoral researcher at the joint Boston University-Harvard Center for Research on Environmental and Social Stressors in Housing Across the Life Course (CRESSH), which is co-funded by NIEHS and that National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

Walker received her doctorate in public health from Harvard University where she examined community noise and its negative impacts on health. She is particularly interested in understanding characteristics of sound beyond the typically reported A-weighted decibel, a measurement of sound that focuses on what the human ear can hear.

To better characterize noise exposures, Walker created Boston’s first Neighborhood Noise Report Card, founded the Noise and The City research organization, and developed the NoiseScore app. She is excited to launch The Community Noise Lab at Boston University in winter 2018. The lab is devoted to taking a more nuanced and creative approach to studying the relationship between community sound, noise issues, and health effects.

Additional Resources

Relevant References

Walker ED, Hart JE, Koutrakis P, Cavallari JM, VoPham T, Luna M, Laden F. Spatial and temporal determinants of A-weighted and frequency specific sound levels-An elastic net approach. 2017. Environ Res 159: 491-499. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2017.08.034. [Abstract Walker ED, Hart JE, Koutrakis P, Cavallari JM, VoPham T, Luna M, Laden F. Spatial and temporal determinants of A-weighted and frequency specific sound levels-An elastic net approach. 2017. Environ Res 159: 491-499. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2017.08.034.]

Walker ED, Brammer A, Cherniack MG, Laden F, Cavallari JM. Cardiovascular and stress responses to short-term noise exposures-A panel study in healthy males. 2016. Environ Res 150: 391-397. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2016.06.016. [Abstract Walker ED, Brammer A, Cherniack MG, Laden F, Cavallari JM. Cardiovascular and stress responses to short-term noise exposures-A panel study in healthy males. 2016. Environ Res 150: 391-397. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2016.06.016.]

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