If you live near a busy road you might feel like the constant sound of roaring engines, honking horns and wailing sirens makes your blood pressure rise. New study published confirms it can do exactly that.
Researchers analyzed data from more than 240,000 people (aged 40 to 69 years) who started out without hypertension. They estimated road traffic noise based on residential address and the Common Noise Assessment Method, a European modeling tool.
Using follow-up data over a median 8.1 years, they looked at how many people developed hypertension. Not only did they find that people living near road traffic noise were more likely to develop hypertension, they also found that risk increased in tandem with the noise “dose.”
However, people who had high exposure to both traffic noise and air pollution had the highest hypertension risk, showing that air pollution plays a role as well.
In conclusion the study shows us how long-term exposure to road traffic noise was associated with increased incidence of primary hypertension, and the effect estimates were stronger in presence of higher air pollution.
The findings can support public health measures because they confirm that exposure to road traffic noise is harmful to our blood pressure. Policymaking may alleviate the adverse impacts of road traffic noise as a societal effort, such as setting stricter noise guidelines and enforcement, improving road conditions and urban design, and investing advanced technology on quieter vehicles, Huang says.
Jing Huang, Teng Yang, John Gulliver, Anna L. Hansell, Mohammad Mamouei, Yutong Samuel Cai, Kazem Rahimi. Road Traffic Noise and Incidence of Primary Hypertension. JACC: Advances, 2023; 100262 DOI: 10.1016/j.jacadv.2023.100262
American College of Cardiology. “Road noise makes your blood pressure rise — literally: Study shows the sound of traffic is associated with increased risk of hypertension, calls for public health measures to reduce noise exposure.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 March 2023. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2023/03/230322190921.htm>.
Photo by Kaique Rocha