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Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2019 Apr 5;116(14):245-250. doi: 10.3238/arztebl.2019.0245.

The Cardiovascular Effects of Noise.

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Department of Cardiology, University Medical Center Mainz.



Traffic noise can induce chronic stress reactions and thereby elevate the risk of cardiovascular disease. The responsible pathophysiological mechanisms are as yet unclear.


This review is based on publications retrieved by a selective search in PubMed for epidemiological and experimental studies (2007-2018) on the relation between noise and the risk of cardiovascular disease. The search terms were "noise AND cardiovascular effects" and "noise cardiovascular effects."


Epidemiological studies have shown that noise caused by air, road, and rail traffic has a dose-dependent association with elevated cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. A current meta-analysis commissioned by the World Health Organization concludes that road-traffic noise elevates the incidence of coronary heart disease by 8% per 10 dB(A) increase starting at 50 dB(A) (95% confidence interval [1,01; 1,15]). Traffic noise at night causes fragmentation of sleep, elevation of stress hormone levels, and oxidative stress. These factors can promote the development of vascular dysfunction (endothelial dysfunction) and high blood pressure, which, in turn, elevate the cardiovascular risk.


Traffic noise, and air-traffic noise in particular, is an important cardiovascular risk factor that has not been sufficiently studied to date. Preventive measures are needed to protect the population from the harmful effects of noise on health.

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