IntroductionPrevious studies have found chronic exposure to aircraft noise to have a negative effect on children’s performance on tests of long-term memory (Evans, et al., 1995, Meis, 1998, Hygge, 2002; Boman, 2003;). This study examined the dose-response relationships between chronic aircraft noise exposure, road traffic noise exposure and combinations of aircraft and road traffic noise exposure in school and Long-term-memory. This study formed part of the RANCH project (Road traffic and aircraft noise exposure and children’s cognition and health). This cross sectional field study compared the performance of 2844 9-10 year old children from the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom on tests of long-term memory from schools with differing levels of aircraft and road traffic noise exposure. The data on potential confounding variables was collected through questionnaires administered to both the children and parents.MethodDesign. Primary school children were selected to take part in this cross-sectional epidemiological field study on the basis of school noise exposure close to each one of the three major European airports (Heathrow, London; Schipol, Amsterdam; and Barajas, Madrid). In each country, schools were selected from a range of aircraft and road traffic noise exposures. Mesures. For the measurement of episodic memory a version of the Child Memory Scale (Cohen, 1997) was used and adapted for application to a group. In particular, the test evaluated the recall capacity and the delayed recognition of two stories after a lapse of 30 minutes during which an interferer task was carried out. With respect to recall, two scores were obtained: the correct recall information and the conceptual recall. Analysis. Comparable methodologies were employed in each country to enable a comparison of effect size in different countries. The data from the three countries was pooled and analysed using multilevel The final model was adjusted for noise exposure, age, gender, country, parental employment status, home ownership, crowding at home, mother’s education, long standing illness, main language spoken at home, parental support for school work and insulation in the school. ResultsIn preliminary analyses of the pooled data (Uk, Netherlands and Spain), aircraft noise was associated with impaired recognition, conceptual recall and correct information in analysis of multi level adjusting for country and confounders Road traffic noise was not found to be significantly associated with any of the outcome.DiscussionThese preliminary analyses suggest an effect of aircraft noise on cued recall and recognition memory. This results are consistent with previous studies (Evans, et al., 1995; Hygge, 2002; Boman, 2003). Road traffic noise was not found to be significantly associated with any of the outcome. Taken together these results suggest that exposure to aircraft noise, but not road traffic noise, leads to impairments in children’s long-term memory. Further analyses will clarify the dose-effect relationship between noise exposure and long-term memory and will inform policies on children’s noise exposure.AcknowledgementsThe RANCH study was funded by the European Community (QLRT-2000-00197).