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Noise and health

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 9 February 2012

Having mentioned recent research that considers the effects of noise from ships, I should add a short note on the serious effects on humans of noise and the related stress. The chief journal for the subject is Noise and Health, and it is freely available.

Below are a few articles from recent years that discuss some of the implications of noise on human health. The first article says epidemiological studies suggest that long-term exposure to transport noise increases the risk for cardiovascular disorders, but that the effect of transport noise on blood pressure and hypertension is uncertain. The second article says “Exposure to residential road traffic noise was associated with a higher risk for stroke among people older than 64.5 years of age.” The last three articles, all from Noise and Health, look at noise and hypertension. A Swedish article say one study, “a cross-sectional study assessing self-reported hypertension, has shown a 30% risk increase per 5 dB(A) noise increase.” The second article looks at the history of noise and health research in Germany, and says “the newer German noise studies demonstrate a clear association between residential exposure to traffic noise (particularly night noise) and cardiovascular outcomes.” The last article, contrastingly, say “The impact of environmental noise on public health, in The Netherlands, is limited: Less than 1% of the myocardial infarction cases per year are attributable to long-term exposure to road traffic noise.” Disentangling the different factors involved is likely to make this sort of research difficult and contentious.

1. Exposure to road traffic and railway noise and associations with blood pressure and self-reported hypertension: a cohort study.
Sørensen M, Hvidberg M, Hoffmann B, Andersen ZJ, Nordsborg RB, Lillelund KG, Jakobsen J, Tjønneland A, Overvad K, Raaschou-Nielsen O.
Environ Health

. 2011 Oct 28;10:92.

PMID: 22034939 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] Free PMC Article
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2. Road traffic noise and stroke: a prospective cohort study.
Sørensen M, Hvidberg M, Andersen ZJ, Nordsborg RB, Lillelund KG, Jakobsen J, Tjønneland A, Overvad K, Raaschou-Nielsen O.
Eur Heart J

. 2011 Mar;32(6):737-44. Epub 2011 Jan 25.

PMID: 21266374 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
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3. Cardiovascular effects of environmental noise: research in Sweden.
Bluhm G, Eriksson C.
Noise Health

. 2011 May-Jun;13(52):212-6. Review.

PMID: 21537104 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] Free Article
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4. Cardiovascular effects of environmental noise: research in Germany.
Maschke C.
Noise Health

. 2011 May-Jun;13(52):205-11. Review.

PMID: 21537103 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] Free Article
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5. Cardiovascular effects of environmental noise: research in The Netherlands.
Kempen E.
Noise Health

. 2011 May-Jun;13(52):221-8. Review.

PMID: 21537106 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] Free Article
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