The dangers of excessive noise?
Medical professionals have long suspected that long term exposure to high levels of noise pollution can be bad for your health. Now research published in the British Medical Journal this month has made an apparent statistical connection between aircraft noise and an increased risk of stroke, heart or circulatory disease.
Living with unwanted noise is something that affects many people – not only those living in high density urban areas, such as London or any other modern UK city, but also residents in rural locations. Commonly referred to as ‘noise pollution’ it has been recognised that continuous, excessive sound leaking into a property or building can cause a range of emotional, mental and even physical problems.
The issue is not merely limited to those individuals considered to be inherently sensitive to excessive noise but can also have a detrimental effect on anyone exposed for a long enough period of time.
Some medical conditions thought to be brought on or made worse by noise pollution in the home or workplace include cardiac problems, stress, hypertension, tinnitus and hearing impairment. Changes in the immune system and birth defects have also been attributed to excessive noise exposure.
In a survey of over 3.6 million people living in close proximity to Heathrow airport the researchers’ findings suggested that there seemed to be a 10% to 20% increase in the risk of residents’ health being adversely affected.
Speaking to the BBC the lead author of the report, Dr Anna Hansell, of Imperial College London, said: “The exact role that noise exposure may play in ill health is not well established. However, it is plausible that it might be contributing – for example, by raising blood pressure or by disturbing people’s sleep.”
The sound of silence
With London being one of the world’s central hubs for air travel it is little wonder that the skies of our nation’s capital are filled, day and night, with a constant stream of jet aircraft. Add in the continuous roar of nearby traffic, road works, building projects – even the clamour of nearby businesses such as pubs, clubs or bars – and you can appreciate why more and more people are turning to secondary double glazing for a quieter life.
Of course we’re not suggesting that simply living next to a major road will result in the development of serious illness but even things like traffic sound, persistent low flying aircraft, loud music, nearby construction or late night noise generated by clubs and pubs can present a real annoyance to those who have to live or work with them on a daily basis.