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Airport Noise Increases Risk of Heart Disease, Study Suggests

Noise pollution is in the news again, this time reporting that airport noise increases the risk of heart disease, according to The Guardian. New studies show that people exposed to the highest airport noise were 10 to 20 percent more likely to be admitted for stroke, coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease. The condition is particularly dangerous at night.

It’s been known for some time that loud noise exposure is linked to an increased risk of heart disease. It also is linked to hearing loss, especially if you’re chronically exposed to loud noise such as when you’re working — and people who suffer from this type of hearing loss are twice as likely to have coronary heart disease compared to those with normal hearing.

If it’s hard to imagine how this connects to your heart, think in terms of stress. Loud noise releases increased stress hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline. Over time, this can lead to high blood pressure, stroke and heart failure. One study even showed that "arousal associated with nighttime noise exposure increased blood and saliva concentrations of these hormones even during sleep."

Short of picking up and moving away from noise sources — which could mean a job change and/or a move from the home you’re in — one way of protecting yourself from unavoidable noise pollution is to wear ear protection at all times. Also consider adding acoustical tile to your ceiling and walls to buffer the noise at home, and ask management at work to consider the same.

If noise is an issue during the night, you may want to consider adding pink noise to your bedroom. Pink noise is steady with a consistent frequency, like the sound of wind or constant rain. Research shows that steady pink noise can help slow down and regulate your brainwaves for more stable sleep and improved sleep quality.
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