herald

Monday 5 December 2016

Too much traffic noise is bad for your health

health

Researchers found a link between long-term exposure to the roar of road traffic and death rate
Researchers found a link between long-term exposure to the roar of road traffic and death rate

Traffic noise is more than a sleep-disturbing nuisance - it can shorten your life, research suggests.

Researchers found an association between long-term exposure to the roar of road traffic and death rate, as well as the risk of stroke.

People exposed to daytime traffic noise louder than 60 decibels (dB) were 4pc more likely to die than those living in areas where noise levels were less than 55 dB.

The extra deaths mostly involved heart or artery disease - which could in turn be linked to raised blood pressure, sleep problems and stress brought on by noise, the scientists claim.

A total of 8.6 million people living in London between 2003 and 2010 provided data for the study, reported in the European Heart Journal.

Beneficial

Lead scientist Dr Jaana Halonen, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: "Road traffic noise has previously been associated with sleep problems and increased blood pressure, but our study is the first in the UK to show a link with deaths and strokes.

"This is the largest study of its kind to date, looking at everyone living inside the M25 over a seven-year period.

"Our findings contribute to the body of evidence suggesting reductions in traffic noise could be beneficial to our health."

The World Health Organisation defines 55dB as a noise level that can cause health problems in a community. In London, more than 1.6 million people are exposed to daytime noise louder than this.

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