Excessive Traffic Noise linked to Heart Attacks: Study

First Posted: Jun 22, 2012 06:34 AM EDT

Most of us would agree that traffic sound is annoying and at the same time very stressful.  But most of us who spend hours stuck in traffic or are residing near heavy traffic areas, are not aware of the damaging effects of this LOUD SOUND!  A study from Denmark claims that, traffic noise and air pollution has been associated with the risk of heart diseases. Greater the exposure to traffic noise, greater the chances of heart attacks. The study was published in the journal PLoS ONE.

In order to conduct the research, the researchers have studies more than 57,000 participants over the period of 10 years.  It was observed that 1,600 participants had already suffered from heart attack. Based on the residential details of the participants, the researchers developed an estimation of their exposure to traffic noise as well as air pollution.  This research proves the previously stated hypothesis that there is a strong link between the occurrence of cardiac arrest and people residing in areas where traffic noise is above 50 decibel range. Repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss.

Links between exposure to road traffic noise and the occurrence of heart attack were examined in a Cox regression model with alteration for air pollution (NOx) and other impending factors like age, sex, education, lifestyle confounders, railway and airport noise.

According to sources, Dr. Mette Sorenson - lead author of the study, explained "Previously there seemed to be no effect up to around 60 decibels. But I see increases at around 40 decibels up to the highest level, around 82 decibels. It doesn't seem to be a level where there are no effects."

However the researchers are unable to deduce why such a correlation exist but state that higher noise levels increases stress level and also influences the sleep pattern to a great extent.

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