January 14 | 2019

Residential noise exposure and the longitudinal risk of hospitalization for depression after pregnancy: Postpartum and beyond. 

He S, Smargiassi A, Low N, Bilodeau-Bertrand M, Ayoub A, Auger N.

Environ Res. 2018 Dec 3;170:26-32. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2018.12.001  [Epub ahead of print]



Depression is a major public health concern, but the link with the built environment is unclear. We sought to determine the relationship between residential noise during pregnancy and later risk of severe depression in women.


We analyzed a population-based cohort of 140,456 women with no documented history of mental illness who were pregnant in Montreal between 2000 and 2016. We obtained residential noise estimates (LAeq. 24 h, Lden, Lnight) from land use regression models, and followed the women over time for up to 18 years after pregnancy to identify subsequent hospitalizations for depression or other mental disorders. We used Cox regression to compute hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CI) adjusted for maternal characteristics.


There were 8.0 incident hospitalizations for depression and 16.4 for other mental disorders per 10,000 person-years in women exposed to an LAeq. 24 h of 60-64.9 dB(A). The incidence was lower for noise at < 55 dB(A), with 7.4 hospitalizations for depression and 13.8 for other mental disorders per 10,000 person-years. Compared with 50 dB(A), an LAeq. 24 h of 60 dB(A) was associated with 1.16 times (95% CI 0.84-1.62) the risk of depression hospitalization, and 1.34 times (95% CI 1.04-1.74) the risk of other mental disorders. Associations were more prominent for Lnight, with 1.32 times (95% CI 1.08-1.63) the risk of depression hospitalization at 60 dB(A) and 1.68 times the risk (95% CI 1.05-2.67) at 70 dB(A).


Pregnant women exposed to noise, especially nighttime noise, have a greater risk of hospitalization for depression and other mental disorders later in life. Residential noise may be a risk factor for depression after pregnancy.