The Many Health Effects of Noise

Lawn mowers and other equipment can reach noise levels high enough to cause hearing damage and potential cardiovascular problems.

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Exposure to loud noise can certainly damage your hearing.

But increasingly, scientists are finding that too much noise can take a toll on our health in other ways. Here is how our loud world can affect you, plus what you can do to protect yourself.

Regular exposure to loud noise has been associated with cardiovascular problems, such as high blood pressure in a number of studies, according to Liz Masterson, Ph.D., an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). For instance, one CDC study she co-wrote, published in The American Journal of Industrial Medicine in 2018, found higher rates of hypertension and high cholesterol in people who were regularly exposed to loud noises at work—meaning that for 4 or more hours a day, several days a week, they needed to raise their voice or shout to be heard by someone standing a few feet away.

The researchers concluded that as many as 14 percent of cases of hypertension and 9 percent of cases of high cholesterol were potentially a result of noise exposure—possibly due to the stress of a loud working environment. “The body responds to stress in a variety of ways, including increasing heart rate, increasing blood pressure,” she says.

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