Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Negative consequences of noise on overall health

Date:
October 29, 2013
Source:
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Summary:
The combined toll of occupational, recreational and environmental noise exposure poses a serious public health threat going far beyond hearing damage, according to an international team of researchers.

The combined toll of occupational, recreational and environmental noise exposure poses a serious public health threat going far beyond hearing damage, according to an international team of researchers writing today in The Lancet. The review team, including a Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania expert, examined the latest research on noise's impact on an array of health indicators -- hearing loss, cardiovascular disease, cognitive performance and mental health, and sleep disturbance -- in order to inform the medical community and lay public about the burden of both auditory and non-auditory effects of noise.

Related Articles


"In our 24/7 society, noise is pervasive and the availability of quiet places is decreasing. We need to better understand how this constant exposure to noise is impacting our overall health," said Mathias Basner, MD, PhD, MSc, assistant professor of Sleep and Chronobiology, Department of Psychiatry at Penn, and lead author of the new review. "From earbuds blasting music during subway commutes to the constant drone of traffic heard by those who live or work near congested highways to the beeping of monitors that makes up the soundtrack heard by hospital patients and staff, what we hear all day impacts many parts of our bodies."

Occupational noise and its negative impact on hearing has been the most frequently studied type of noise exposure. But in recent years, research has broadened to focus on social noise, such as noise heard in bars or through personal music players, and environmental noise from road, rail, and air traffic. "Our understanding of how different types of noise impact aspects of health other than hearing loss, including sleep, cardiovascular function, community annoyance, and even a patient's ability to heal in a hospital environment, is continuously increasing," Basner said.

With both noise-related hearing issues (auditory) and broader deleterious effects of noise on physical and mental wellbeing (non-auditory) in mind, the research team -- consisting of members from the International Commission on Biological Effects of Noise (ICBEN), a global panel of experts in various areas of noise and public health -- convened to summarize current findings related to noise exposure and overall health. The team concentrated on studies published during the past five years in the fields of otolaryngology, cardiovascular medicine, sleep medicine, psychology, and hospital medicine to best determine the state of current evidence of noise's impact on health.

In general, the medical community knows that high noise levels can cause hearing loss, as noise-induced hearing loss is the most common occupational disease in the United States. "Approximately 22 million U.S. workers are exposed to hazardous noise levels at work, and, annually, an estimated $242 million is spent on compensation for hearing loss disability," said Basner. Preventive and therapeutic compounds to treat noise-related hearing loss are being developed and will probably be available within the next 10 years, but the authors stress that additional educational efforts need to be planned in order to prevent the aging population from unnecessary hearing loss.

Relating to non-auditory effects, the authors conclude that because of the ubiquitous exposure of environmental and social noise, its public health effect is easily underestimated. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than one million disability adjusted life years are lost in western European member states alone due to environmental noise exposure, most of these caused by sleep disturbance and community annoyance.

Accordingly, the authors found evidence that long-term exposure to environmental noise affects the cardiovascular system, with connections to hypertension, ischemic heart diseases, and stroke. In addition, numerous studies pointed to associations between environmental noise exposure and sleep disturbance, children's cognition, and negative effects in hospitals for both patients and staff.

The authors note that for auditory effects, there is still debate about what noise levels are considered safe, and that prospective studies with adequate control groups could help shed additional light on the discussion. For the non-auditory effects, Basner says large-scale prospective epidemiological studies, dedicated primarily to the health effects of noise, are needed to strengthen the link between acute and long-term environmental and social noise exposure and the various health outcomes, especially cardiovascular disease.

The authors hope that their review will increase awareness about the manifold negative health consequences of noise, and stimulate educational campaigns for children and adults that will promote both noise-avoiding and noise reducing behaviors, and thus, mitigate negative health consequences. "Efforts to reduce noise exposure will eventually be rewarded by lower amounts of annoyance, improved learning environments for children, improved sleep, lower incidence of cardiovascular disease, and, in the case of noise exposure in hospitals, improved patient outcomes and shorter hospital stays," they conclude.

Basner and colleagues at Penn have just been awarded federal funding through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to study the impact of aircraft noise on sleep and work on developing models that predict sleep disruption for different aircraft noise levels and profiles.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mathias Basner, Wolfgang Babisch, Adrian Davis, Mark Brink, Charlotte Clark, Sabine Janssen, Stephen Stansfeld. Auditory and non-auditory effects of noise on health. The Lancet, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)61613-X

Cite This Page:

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "Negative consequences of noise on overall health." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131029220800.htm>.
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. (2013, October 29). Negative consequences of noise on overall health. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131029220800.htm
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "Negative consequences of noise on overall health." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131029220800.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 29, 2014) A Swedish amputee who became the first person to ever receive a brain controlled prosthetic arm is able to manipulate and handle delicate objects with an unprecedented level of dexterity. The device is connected directly to his bone, nerves and muscles, giving him the ability to control it with his thoughts. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Google X wants to improve modern medicine with nanoparticles and a wearable device. It's all an attempt to tackle disease detection and prevention. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Researchers in Sweden released a study showing heavy milk drinkers face an increased mortality risk from a variety of causes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Surrounded by health care workers in the White House East Room, President Barack Obama said the U.S. will likely see additional Ebola cases in the weeks ahead. But he said the nation can't seal itself off in the fight against the disease. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins