Chronic exposure to noise pollution has been linked to type 2 diabetes in animals. So what does this mean for the 29 million people currently living with diabetes in America?
Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the US and about 90% of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes, a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high.
The rest have type 1 which is most commonly caused by the body’s own immune system turning against it.
There’s nothing we can do to prevent type 1 diabetes. But according to research, around three in five cases of type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by maintaining a healthy weight, eating well and being active.
Now however, there is some suggestion that other environmental factors can also influence its development.
Keep it down
In a recent study, researchers looked to see how dietary changes and chronic-noise exposure shaped diabetes symptoms in mice and the results were published in the journal PLoS One.
Mice were fed a regular or high-fat diet, and either were or weren’t exposed to an 85-decibel noise for four hours a day.
The results showed that, while high-fat diets increased the blood glucose levels in mice more than regular diets, the addition of noise pollution exacerbated the effects.
It seemed that chronic noise exposure accelerated the rate at which the mice fed high-fat diets developed pre-diabetic symptoms.
The reasons behind these effects are unclear but the researchers reported that chronic noise exposure seemed to impair the ability of the mice to accumulate fat.
With more free fatty acids being circulated in the blood rather than stored in fat cells, it altered the body’s ability to regulate sugar metabolism.
According to the World Health Organization, excessive noise seriously harms human health and interferes with people’s daily activities at school, at work, at home and during leisure time.
It can disturb sleep, cause cardiovascular and psychophysiological effects, reduce performance and provoke annoyance responses and changes in social behavior.
In 2016, a study of aircraft noise around London’s Heathrow airport found that high levels of aircraft noise were associated with increased risks of hospital admission and death from stroke, coronary heart disease, and cardiovascular disease in the nearby area.
Another large study that looked at aircraft noise exposure over a much longer time period of 15 years found that deaths from heart attacks increased when the noise was louder and endured over a longer period of time.
What is clear from the ongoing research is that noise pollution affects a large number of people and is a significant risk to their health.
Because of this, we need to think about interventions to reduce noise at source by masking or screening it using barriers or sound insulation, or even better by designing our society to be less noisy in the first place.
How we help
Echo Barrier leads the way in temporary acoustic noise barrier solutions, thanks to our unrivalled acoustic knowledge and experience. We take a scientific approach to product design, and continually focus on innovation, quality and technical support.