Noise from trains, planes and cars has been linked to the development of heart disease, and researchers said Monday that’s because it may disrupt the body on the cellular level in a way that increases the risk of common heart disease risk factors.
In a review published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers looked at novel translational noise studies demonstrating the molecular mechanisms that may lead to impaired vascular function, recent epidemiologic evidence of noise-induced cardiovascular disease, and the non-auditory effects of noise and their impact on the cardiovascular system.
They proposed that noise induces a stress response, characterized by activation of the sympathetic nervous system and increased levels of hormones, which will initiate sequelae and ultimately lead to vascular damage.
Researchers said their evidence further strengthens the concept that traffic noise contributes to the development of heart disease risk factors such as hypertension and diabetes because noise is associated with oxidative stress, vascular dysfunction, autonomic imbalance and metabolic abnormalities.
The researchers also looked at some of the mitigation strategies used around the world and said strategies like traffic management and regulation, the development of low-noise tires could help reduce noise, and air traffic curfews help reduce hazardous noise, but other strategies are needed.
“As the percentage of the population exposed to detrimental levels of transportation noise are rising, new developments and legislation to reduce noise are important for public health,” lead author Thomas Munzel of the Johannes Gutenberg University in Germany, said in a statement.