Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Column Archive |  On Twitter: J Huget and MisFits  |  Fitness & Nutrition News  |  RSS Feeds RSS Feed

Can noise be deadly?

Is working in a noisy environment bad for your health? A new study suggests that it is.

Wen Qi Gan of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and colleagues analyzed data collected from 6,307 adults ages 20 and older who participated in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 1999 and 2004. The participants answered a host of questions, including whether they worked at a place where it was difficult to hear when speaking in a normal conversational volume.

About one in five of the workers said they experienced a noisy workplace for an average of almost nine consecutive months. Compared to those who worked in a quiet environment, those who were chronically exposed to a lot of noise -- meaning for at least three months -- were two to three times more likely to experience heart problems, including chest pain, heart disease and heart attacks, the researchers reported in the jourrnal Occupational Environmental Medicine.

Orchard manager Lee Herring stands in the control room of a hail cannon in Bennington, Vt. The owner of the Southern Vermont Orchards believes he has found a novel way to protect his apples from hail damage: sending a cannon blast of sonic waves into the sky that supposedly prevents the icy chunks from forming. But the sonic boom they create has stirred a debate about noisy farms and the rights of those who live near them.(AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

Workers who smoked appeared to be especially at risk, as were men younger than age 50, the researchers found. There was no association between noise and high cholesterol, but those exposed to a lot of noise were more likely to have high blood pressure.

Exactly how noise may be risky is unclear. But noise may increase levels of stress hormones that constrict blood flow, increasing blood pressure, the researchers say. The findings indicate that chronic exposure to noise at work may be yet another risk factor associated with heart problems as powerful as sudden emotional shocks or physical exertion and thus deserves more attention, they say.

Do you work in a noisy environment?

By Rob Stein  | October 6, 2010; 9:33 AM ET
Categories:  Cardiovascular Health, Chronic Conditions, Environmental Toxins, Smoking  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: When a beloved food triggers overeating
Next: Those darned dense breasts

No comments have been posted to this entry.

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.

characters remaining

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company