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Noise and Heart Disease

Zoomer Report2020-1-20By: Libby Znaimer

How noisy is your workplace? Research shows that people who work in noisy environments now have a lot more to worry about than just hearing loss.

A study out of the University of British Columbia has found that employees who endure chronic exposure to noise on the job are more than two times likelier to suffer serious heart disease and high blood pressure than those in quieter occupations. Researchers were surprised by these findings. Over the last decade scientists have found links between noise levels and heart disease, but the risks were considered small compared to the effects of smoking, obesity and a lack of exercise.

This work suggests the problem is more serious, and that male smokers under the age of 50 are most vulnerable.

The lead author says there are no conclusive answers as to what’s behind the heart-noise connection, but he believes it’s strongly linked to psychological and emotional stress. It’s thought loud noise may activate chemical messages in the body that cause a sudden and significant reduction in the blood supply to the heart, leading to chest pains, hypertension or even a heart attack.

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