Study suggests that noise from town centres can trigger heart problems

Study suggests that noise from town centres can trigger heart problems

As a noise expert for over 30 years, our founder, Peter Wilson, knows first-hand the issues noise pollution has, particularly on our health. And with a wealth of research being undertaken looking at the impact our environment has on our bodies, the effect of noise has been a focal point.

This has been compounded by a recent study undertaken by researchers at Nottingham Trent University, which suggests that noise from town centres can trigger heart problems.

The study asked shoppers to wear mobile heart rate monitors while they moved around Nottingham city centre for 45 minutes, and found that fluctuating sounds, even low-level noise, on busy high streets disturb normal cardiac rhythms.

“We found that rapid changes in noise resulted in rapid disturbance to the normal rhythm of participants’ hearts,” said researcher Dr Eiman Kanjo of Nottingham Trent’s School of Science and Technology.

“If this pattern is repeated regularly then there is a danger it might lead to cardiovascular problems.”

It is well known that repeated exposure to stresses such as noise, can lead to a range of illnesses and behavioural issues – with several recent studies finding links with noise and heart related diseases.
However, this is the first study to use heart monitors to attempt to provide an example of the short-term impact our environment has on our bodies.

Data was collated from the environment, including noise, air pressure and light levels and was compared to data from the participant i.e. heart rate, body temperature and movement. None of the participants had heart problems.

Following the study, the team have called for key decision-makers to develop, implement and improve guidelines to protect public health around urban areas. Thus, highlighting the need for noise mitigation to be integral to the design of city landscapes and that local authorities should review external factors’ impact on humans, especially at street level.

Here at Echo Barrier we put noise reduction at the forefront of what we do. With our award-winning temporary acoustic barriers, we can help local authorities, construction, rail and live events companies reduce their noise pollution, and in turn, help reduce the impact on their local communities.

The research was published in the journal Information Fusion.