The scientists at American College of Cardiology recommended policy measures to mitigate the negative effects of road traffic noise, including implementing more stringent noise guidelines
By: Kimberly Rodrigues
According to a recent study by the American College of Cardiology, exposure to road traffic noise is associated with an increased risk of developing hypertension, with the risk rising in correlation with the level of noise exposure.
The study used data from UK Biobank, which included over 240,000 participants aged 40 to 69 without hypertension at the start of the study.
Even after adjusting for exposure to fine particles and nitrogen dioxide, the link between road traffic noise and hypertension remained significant.
The scientists followed the participants of the study for a median period of 8.1 years to determine how many developed hypertension.
They estimated road traffic noise using the Common Noise Assessment Method and participants’ residential address.
The study found that the risk of developing hypertension increased in tandem with the level of noise exposure.
The scientists found that those with high exposure to both traffic noise and air pollution had the highest risk of developing hypertension, suggesting a potential role of air pollution in the development of hypertension.
“We were a little surprised that the association between road traffic noise and hypertension was robust even after adjustment for air pollution,” said Jing Huang, lead author of the study.
“It is essential to explore the independent effects of road traffic noise, rather than the total environment,” said Huang.
The study’s authors recommended policy measures to mitigate the negative effects of road traffic noise, including implementing more stringent noise guidelines and enforcement, enhancing road conditions and urban design, and investing in advanced technology to produce quieter vehicles.
Ongoing studies are investigating the pathophysiological mechanisms by which hypertension develops from road noise.
The research was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
(With inputs from PTI)