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Long Term Exposure to Traffic Noise Linked to Stroke Risk

June 24, 2015
Public Health

New research by scientists based in London has suggested that living in areas where daytime road traffic noise exceeds 60dB can increase the risk of stroke. The study carried out by researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Imperial College and Kings College looked at 8.6 million people living in the capital between 2003 and 2010, measuring exposure to traffic noise. Other risk factors such as age, sex, ethnicity, smoking habits and air quality were also taken into account.

Results showed that adults living in the areas with the highest daytime noise levels were 5% more likely to be treated for stroke than those living in quieter areas. The figure rose to 9% in elderly people aged 75 and over exposed to higher levels of night time noise.

Lead author Dr Jaana Halonen, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: “Road traffic noise has previously been associated with sleep problems and increased blood pressure, but our study is the first in the UK to show a link with deaths and strokes. This is the largest study of its kind to date, looking at everyone living inside the M25 over a seven-year period. Our findings contribute to the body of evidence suggesting reductions in traffic noise could be beneficial to our health”.

There are over 1.6 million Londoners living in areas with daytime traffic noise levels above 55dB, a level that the World Health Organisation has said is potentially harmful.

You can download the full report HERE