WHO KNEW? TRAFFIC NOISE CAN KILL YOU, AND FASTER THAN YOU EVER IMAGINED
So I like peace and quiet, if not all the time. But I remember in my earlier days when absolute silence felt deafening, oppressive. Made it hard to sleep, even. But I’ve never really been fond of traffic noise. It’s there, it’s not really white, and it’s pretty much annoying. But deadly? Well, yes. New research has found that it’s really, really not good for you. My first thought was of all those poor folks who used to work in Toll Booths. But while this news doesn’t surprise me, I find I’m a little more exhausted hearing something so common, so basic, added to the endlessly long list of things that can kill you.
TRAFFIC NOISE LITERALLY CAUSES A STRESS REACTION IN OUR BRAINS, THEN BODIES
Researchers have been looking at traffic noise in particular for the last ten years. After all, there’s more traffic every single day as we add people, and cars, to the roads across the world. But, of course, it’s not just cars. Airplanes and all their noise fall into the same, deadly category. So what is it about traffic noise that can be deadly? Well, the noise literally stresses our brains. As in, a stress response. Our brains hear the noise and they release both adrenaline and cortisol. But there’s more, of course. Our blood pressure increases and we get extra inflammation of the tissue that lines our hearts, lymphatic and blood vessels.
HEART DISEASE, DIABETES, OBESITY, ALL RESULTING FROM TRAFFIC NOISE
So what does that mean? Well, it means that traffic noise can cause cardiovascular sickness, like high blood pressure, arterial plaque, obesity and, of course, diabetes. So if that sounds like the worst aging cocktail of health you could imagine, it’s because it is. Researchers found that exposing people to traffic noise when they sleep impacts their health within days. Days. But train noise is even worse! Train noise impacted sleepers pretty much instantly. And no, the research subjects were not older folks. They were young. But even the researchers found these finding astonishing. They thought these impacts would take years.
So we need a new bad saying. Maybe, not silent but definitely deadly?