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Why noise damages long-term health

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Noise is not only annoying, it can also be detrimental to long-term health. This is shown by a current study from the US, which comes to an alarming conclusion.

Noise can have long-term health effects. (Iconic Image: Getty Images)

We perceive noise differently in terms of its intensity. For some, even laughing neighbors are too noisy, for others, neither sirens nor large construction sites can bother them.

But the fact is that if we are constantly exposed to too much noise, it can affect our health and even promote serious diseases. Noise puts stress on our bodies, even if we don’t realize it. The autonomic and hormonal systems become unbalanced, which in turn desynchronizes the circulatory system. The consequences can be heart attacks, strokes or high blood pressure.

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Noise pollution as a risk factor

A new study from the US now backs this up. Lead study author Professor Abel Moreyra, a cardiologist at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine, believes noise pollution should be considered a risk factor for heart disease, along with blood pressure and diet.

In the study, Moreyra and colleagues compared New Jersey heart attack admissions data from 2018 with government traffic noise data for the same period, broken down by geographic area. They then compared the average noise levels that around 16,000 heart attack patients were exposed to over a 24-hour period. It turned out that a noise level of 65 decibels or more can be harmful to health. According to the study, the risk of heart attack increased by 72 percent in areas with this value.

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In Germany, the Federal Environment Agency has already reached similar conclusions. The recommendation here is that noise exposure should be reduced, especially at night, as the body reacts much more sensitively to sound during sleep.

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