Health and Wellness

Incessant noise can disrupt the body at a cellular level

New Delhi, 16 May 2018: According to a review of the underlying mechanisms that lead to noise-induced heart disease, environmental noise from traffic and aircraft disrupts the body on the cellular level to raise heart disease risk factors. Sound pollution can cause metabolic abnormalities and autonomic imbalance, characterized by dizziness and exercise intolerance. Exposure to this noise can also lead to behavioral issues in children.
Dust mixed with toxic fumes from vehicular exhausts can exacerbate lung and heart diseases and trigger death from heart attack, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung infections like pneumonia, and cancers of the lung and respiratory tract.
Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, ” Noise is an unwanted intrusive sound. A loud noise is 85 db or higher, or if a person has to raise his/her voice to speak with someone standing at a distance of 3 feet. Noise is a recognized environmental stressor, which has both physiological and psychological effects. It is associated with anxiety, high blood pressure, increased heart rate, insomnia, annoyance, stress. Progressive hearing loss may result from continuous and repeated exposure to loud noise. The safe limit for sounds at 85 db or less is 8 hours of exposure. Loud noise affects speech intelligibility and consequently work performance and increases chances of errors. Conversation has to be conducted at higher dbs for clear speech communication because of noise interference.”
People living in areas with high traffic noise are also 25% more likely than those in quieter neighborhoods to have symptoms of depression such as sadness, loneliness and trouble concentrating.
Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “Hospitals are noisy work places. Control of noise levels is very important in hospitals for patient well-being and healing. Noise creates an unhealthy work environment for doctors. It affects concentration and increases the chances of mistakes, which can be costly for the doctors and hospitals. Inability to hear the warning patient monitoring alarm over the general background noise in an ICU may have potentially disastrous outcome. Moreover, doctors too are prone to develop high BP and other negative effects on health.”
Some HCFI tips to reduce noise pollution.
• Traffic flow around schools and hospitals should be minimized as much as possible.
• Signboards displaying ‘Silence zone’, ‘No honking’ must be placed near these areas.
• Efforts should be made to ban the use of horns with jarring sounds, motorbikes with damaged exhaust pipes, and noisy trucks.
• The use of loudspeakers in parties and discos, as well as public announcements systems should be checked and discouraged.
• Noise rules must be stringent and strictly enforced near such silence zones.
• Planting trees along roads and in residential areas is a good way to reduce noise pollution as they absorb sound.

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