Research says loud everyday noises may contribute to heart disease, and we’re a little freaked out

If you’re often surrounded by the sounds of traffic, construction work, or loud music, you may be at a higher risk of developing heart disease. According to a new study published on February 5th in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, noise pollution correlates to cardiovascular health.

ABC News reports that researchers in Germany and Denmark found that people and animals often exposed to loud noises displayed higher rates of heart failure, arrhythmia, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar. Researchers believe that loud noises can increase stress hormones, which can negatively affect arteries throughout the body. There is no physical link between noise pollution and heart disease, but evidence suggests that there is a connection between stress and heart health risks.

"What we know is that if you already have pre-existing risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, noise will amplify that risk," lead author of the study, Dr. Thomas Münzel from the University Medical Center Mainz Center of Cardiology, explained to ABC News.

Dr. Münzel also noted that any noise that hits above 60 decibels on the World Health Organization Decibel Scale can increase one’s risk of heart disease.

For example, noises above 60 decibels include loud telephone ringing, car engines, and even some loud conversations. ABC News adds that, for reference, a jackhammer usually hits around 100 decibels.

Dr. Münzel continued, "We need more research to determine what duration of exposure to loud noise is harmful, but we do know that the risk comes from years and years of exposure, not days."

He also calls for government policy reform as a response to these findings. Doctors and patients cannot regulate noise pollution, yet it is evident that noise pollution is a serious health risk.

If you are already at risk for contracting heart disease, and are often exposed to loud noises, consider taking steps to protect your ears and, in turn, your heart. Earplugs and noise-cancelling headphones could help reduce the risk, although no research has been done to prove this 100% true.

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