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Noise Health. 2000;2(7):7-24.

Acute and chronic endocrine effects of noise: Review of the research conducted at the Institute for Water, Soil and Air Hygiene.

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1
Institute for Water, Soil and Air Hygiene, Federal Environmental Agency Berlin, Corrensplatz 1, 14195 Berlin, Germany.

Abstract

This is a review of the research into endocrine effects of noise since the early 1980s at the Institute for Water, Soil and Air Hygiene. According to our knowledge, no other group has studied systematically the endocrine effects of acute and chronic noise exposure. Mechanisms of acute noise-induced stress reactions as well as long-term increase of stress hormones in animal and persons under chronic noise exposure were studied. Our theoretical background was Henry's psychophysiological stress model with the two reaction alternatives : (i) The fight-flight reaction, characterised by an increase in adrenalin and noradrenaline (ii) The defeat reaction with increased cortisol. Extremely intense acute noise exposure near the threshold of pain caused an increased release of cortisol from the suprarenal cortex but acute noise exposure with levels between 90 and 100 dB(A) caused an increase of catecholamines. Non-habituated noise increased primarily the release of adrenalin from the suprarenal medulla, whereas habituated noise caused a chronic increase of noradrenaline from the sympathetic synapses under longterm noise exposure at work. Environmental noise exposure (Leq >/= 60 dB(A)) caused catecholamine increase if activities such as conversation, concentration, recreation etc were disturbed through noise. In sleeping persons, traffic noise with only Leq >/= 30 dB (A) and Lmax >/= 55 dB(A) caused significant acute increase of cortisol, which developed into chronic increase if the noise exposure was repeated consistently. Parallel to cortisol, chronic noradrenaline increase was also observed. Based upon the empirical results, a noise stress model was developed which is a first step forward in the theoretical understanding of endocrine noise effects.

PMID:
12689468
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