Exposure to traffic noise is significantly associated with heart attacks, according to new research.
The new study, led by Mette Sorensen on the Danish Cancer Society, showed a clear relationship between traffic noise and heart attacks, with a 12% higher risk per 10 decibels of noise, based on 50,614 study participants over ten years.
The exact reason for this relationship is not yet known, but may be due to increased stress and sleep disturbances associated with high traffic noise.
Sorenson suggested choosing a room with a low exposure to traffic noise for sleeping in, or insulating one’s house against noise. It is also possible for officials to pave highways with low-noise asphalt, she said.
“The real danger with noise pollution is that most people don’t realize they are experiencing it,” Sorenson said. “You might wake up thinking that you had a quiet night, but when you look at it in a lab, you see that your sleep stages have been disturbed.”