Researchers at Imperial College London have found that long-term exposure to traffic noise has been linked to heart disease.

The researchers led by Dr. Yutong Cai studied 144 000 adults aged 20 and older from Norway and Netherlands.

The team used blood biochemistry to check for analyse blood looking for signs that point to a risk of heart disease including an increase in triglycerides. For those wondering triglycerides are a type of fat found in your body, the right amount is great but too much can increase your risk of heart disease.

After taking into account lifestyle factors such as sex, age, education, alcohol consumption and smoking status, the researchers found that triglycerides levels could be increased by 0.3% with just a 5dB increase in noise levels.

Air pollution was found to increase the levels of triglycerides by 10% independent of the noise.

Beyond the physical effects, the researchers also found that being surrounded by road noise can lead to a lack of sleep and the production of stress hormones can increase.

The team has said it will continue studying the effects of noise and air pollution on health but for now, might we suggest investing in a pair of decent earplugs.

[Source – European Heart Journal] [Image – CC BY 2.0 Still Vision]