Exposure to traffic noise is significantly associated with heart attacks, according to research published June 20 in the open access journal PLoS ONE.
Previous work had investigated that combined effects of both noise and air pollution caused by traffic, but the results were inconsistent. The new study, led by Mette Sorensen on the Danish Cancer Society, showed a clear relationship between traffic noise and heart attack, with a 12% higher risk per 10 decibels of noise, based on 50,614 study participants.
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.
Sørensen M, Andersen ZJ, Nordsborg RB, Jensen SS, Lillelund KG, et al. (2012) Road Traffic Noise and Incident Myocardial Infarction: A Prospective Cohort Study. PLoS ONE 7(6): e39283. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039283