Land use regression modeling of outdoor noise exposure in informal settlements in Western Cape, South Africa

07 May 2018

In low- and middle-income countries, noise exposure and its negative health effects have been little explored. The present study aimed to assess the noise exposure situation in adults living in informal settings in the Western Cape Province, South Africa. We conducted continuous one-week outdoor noise measurements at 134 homes in four different areas. These data were used to develop a land use regression (LUR) model to predict A-weighted day-evening-night equivalent sound levels (Lden) from geographic information system (GIS) variables. Mean noise exposure during day (6:00?18:00) was 60.0 A-weighted decibels (dB(A)) (interquartile range 56.9?62.9 dB(A)), during night (22:00?6:00) 52.9 dB(A) (49.3?55.8 dB(A)) and average Lden was 63.0 dB(A) (60.1?66.5 dB(A)). Main predictors of the LUR model were related to road traffic and household density. Model performance was low (adjusted R2 = 0.130) suggesting that other influences than those represented in the geographic predictors are relevant for noise exposure. This is one of the few studies on the noise exposure situation in low- and middle-income countries. It demonstrates that noise exposure levels are high in these settings.