Exposure to traffic noise 'can increase heart attack risk'

11 July 2016

People who are exposed to a greater amount of traffic noise may be at an elevated risk of heart attacks.

This is according to a new study published in the German journal Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, which reviewed data provided by statutory health insurers encompassing more than one million Germans over the age of 40.

Health information was matched to local road, rail and traffic noise exposure measurements for 2005, with a statistically significant association found between noise exposure and the risk of heart attack.

A lower risk was associated with aircraft noise, which researchers explained by noting that aircraft noise never remains continuously above 65 dB, unlike the noise generated by road and rail traffic.

The results also indicated a stronger link between traffic noise and fatal heart attack incidents, which indicates that exposure to traffic noise influences not just the genesis but also the course of a heart attack.

Given the large number of people affected by noise pollution in developed countries, the paper concluded that these findings should create an impetus towards more intensive efforts to combat traffic noise in the worst-affected areas.

Posted by Edward Bartel


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