Malpractice News

May 16, 2013

Noise of all kinds affects the heart

You’ve been told since an early age not to listen to your music too loud when you’re wearing ear phones because it can hurt your hearing. You might also have heard that long exposure to other loud sounds—rock bands, jackhammers, lawn mowers—can also have detrimental effects. But did you know that what you hear affects more than your ears? In fact, according to new research, what you hear can have direct impact on your heart.

Just 65 decibels has an impact

This new study, conducted on 110 adults in Germany, looked at what effects sound levels of just 65 decibels have on the heart. To give you an idea of how loud this is, a refrigerator humming is 40 dB, normal conversation is 50-65 dB, a vacuum cleaner is 70 dB, and city traffic noise is 80 dB.

Higher noise level, higher heart rate

Once the sounds and heart rates of the participants were analyzed, researchers found that “people’s heart rate tended to climb as their noise exposure increased—even when the noise remained below 65 decibels.” The longer a person’s heart rate stays elevated, the more stress he or she is likely to feel, and the more impact is felt by the heart.

Heart rate variability also affected

This range of sound was also found to have a “negative impact on people’s heart rate variability—a measure of the heart’s adaptation to what is going on around you.” Past studies have found that impaired heart rate variability contributes to a higher risk of heart attack.


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