Traffic noise ‘can increase stroke risk’

Last Updated: Jan 26, 2011, 11:21 AM IST

Washington: A new study has shown that exposure to noise from road traffic can increase the risk of stroke, particularly in those aged 65 years and over.

The study, which is the first to investigate the links between road traffic noise and the risk of stroke, found that for every 10 decibels more noise the risk of having a stroke increased by 14 pc among the 51,485 study participants.

When the Danish researchers looked at the data more closely, they found that for people aged less than 65 years there was no statistically significant increased risk of stroke; however, the risk increased by 27 pc for every 10dB of higher road traffic noise in those aged 65 years and over. Furthermore, in the older people they found indications of a threshold limit at approximately 60 dB, above which the risk for stroke seemed to increase even more.

Dr Mette Sorensen, senior researcher at the Institute of Cancer Epidemiology, Danish Cancer Society in Copenhagen, Denmark, who led the research, said: "Our study shows that exposure to road traffic noise seems to increase the risk of stroke. Previous studies have linked traffic noise with raised blood pressure and heart attacks, and our study adds to the accumulating evidence that traffic noise may cause a range of cardiovascular diseases. These studies highlight the need for action to reduce people``s exposure to noise.

"This is the first study ever to investigate the association between exposure to road traffic noise and risk of stroke, and, therefore, more research is needed before any firm conclusions can be made."

The study has been published in the European Heart Journal.

ANI