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Study in Germany shows an association between traffic noise and heart attack

If you are constantly exposed to traffic noise, you risk having a heart attack. The increase in risk is greatest with road and rail traffic noise, but less with aircraft noise.


Andreas Seidler and co-authors in the Deutsches Ärzteblatt International reached this conclusion after evaluating information from statutory health insurers on over a million Germans over the age of 40.

In this case-control study of secondary data, the addresses of persons living in the Rhine-Main region were matched precisely to road, rail, and traffic noise exposure measurements for 2005.

By restricting the analysis to patients who died of heart attack up to 2014/2015, a statistically significant association was found between noise exposure and the risk of heart attack.

According to the authors, the lower risk from aircraft noise can be explained by the fact that, unlike road and rail traffic noise, aircraft noise never remains continuously above 65 dB.

From the analysis, it emerges that exposure to traffic noise influences not just the genesis, but also the course of a heart attack.

The fact that there is an association between traffic noise and heart attack makes the authors believe that it is now right to start intensive efforts towards effective prevention of traffic noise.