Noisy Neighborhoods Can be Stressful and Damaging to Your Health
> 2/15/2008 3:35:26 PM

As anyone who has had an endless construction project outside their office knows, loud noises in our environment can be distracting and stressful. As much as hubbub can interfere with your day, it has an even more pernicious effect during sleep, beyond the obvious problems caused when they wake you up. A new study from the European Heart Journal demonstrates that noise during sleep raises blood pressure (BP) and heart-rate to a degree that could damage cardiovascular health.

Alexandros Haralabidis, part of the team working on HYENA (hypertension and exposure to noise near airports), unobtrusively monitored 140 Europeans near four major airports. BP was measured every 15 minutes, and correlated to ambient noise in the bedroom. While the intent of the study was to evaluate the acoustic risks around airports, and airplanes were the loudest disturbances, the significant impact of many other noises such as snoring and car traffic were observed. The source of the noise turned out to be unimportant; BP rose in step with decibel level. This correlation was consistent between all four airport areas.

Animal studies have shown that consciousness is not necessary for blood pressure responses to noise; the heart's of totally anesthetized animals still respond to loud noises. This seemed to hold true for all the human subjects in the study, suggesting that many people are unaware of the stress their body suffers from bumps in the night.

A previous study from the HYENA project showed that citizens living near airports were at much higher risk for developing hypertension. This newer study not only confirms that airplane noise directly raise BP, but it also opens up all loud noises for scrutiny. Prospective property owners should pay careful attention to the health risks of all noise pollution, not just the massive drone of turbines. Living next to a busy street, or a house of frequent revelry, may contribute to a heart attack many years down the line.

No comments yet.

Post Your Comments

Post a comment
Email Address:
Verification Code:
Input the 8 characters you see above:


Drug Abuse
Sexual Addiction
Eating Disorders
Alzheimer's Disease

About TOL | Contact Us | Defining Behavioral Fitness | For Healthcare Professionals | Links | Privacy Policy