Friday, December 15, 2023
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The Impact of Traffic Noise on Tinnitus

A connection between traffic noise and tinnitus uncovered by researchers The University of Southern Denmark researchers discovered a link between the exposure to traffic noise and an increase in the risk of developing tinnitus. They suggest a possible cause being a vicious cycle of stress reactions and sleep disturbance.

Living near busy roads and being exposed to traffic noise can increase stress levels, affect sleep and potentially increase the risk of developing tinnitus, according to researchers from the University of Southern Denmark. The study, which analyzed data from 3.5 million Danish residents, found that for every ten decibels of noise in people’s homes, the risk of developing tinnitus increased by six percent. The researchers also noted a link between traffic noise exposure and other health problems, such as dementia and cardiovascular diseases. Noise at night was found to be particularly harmful to health, as it can disrupt sleep, which is essential for physical and mental health. The researchers recommend reducing noise levels in homes by sleeping in a room that does not face the road or by installing soundproof windows.

City Traffic Sounds for Sleep Highway Ambience at Night 10 Hours ASMR White Noise 0 9 screenshot 1 The Impact of Traffic Noise on Tinnitus

As the Noise Level Increases, the Risk Increases

According to Manuella Lech Cantuaria, an Assistant Professor at the Mærsk Mc-Kinney-Møller Institute and affiliated with the Department of Clinical Research at SDU, the risk of developing tinnitus increases by six percent for every ten decibels more noise in people’s homes. This is the first time that a link between residential traffic noise exposure and hearing-related outcomes has been found. Jesper Hvass Schmidt, an Associate Professor at the Department of Clinical Research and Chief Physician at Odense University Hospital, along with Cantuaria, are concerned about the numerous health problems that traffic noise appears to cause, including cardiovascular diseases, dementia, and tinnitus. Schmidt stresses the importance of focusing on the impact of traffic noise on health and the alarming increase in disease risk associated with noise.

The Underestimated Impact of Traffic Noise

Jesper Hvass Schmidt, who works at the hearing clinic at OUH, believes that only the most severe cases of tinnitus are referred from general practitioners or otorhinolaryngologists, suggesting that the high number of reported cases may only be the visible part of the problem.

Tinnitus is a common condition that affects about ten percent of the population, and it is often associated with stress and poor sleep, which can be exacerbated by traffic noise. According to Jesper Hvass Schmidt, this creates a potential cycle.

While further studies are needed to confirm the causal link between traffic noise and tinnitus, Jesper Hvass Schmidt points out that traffic noise can cause stress and affect our sleep, both of which can worsen tinnitus.

Possible Solutions To Reduce The Risk Of Developing Tinnitus

The study found that noise measured on the quiet side of the house, which is typically the side facing away from the road where most people would place their bedroom, was strongly associated with an increased risk of developing tinnitus. This finding highlights the importance of considering noise exposure during sleep, as it can have a significant impact on health outcomes.

While there are ways to reduce noise in the home, such as sleeping in a room that does not face the road or installing soundproof windows, these solutions may not be available or feasible for everyone. This underscores the need for urban planning and political decisions to take into account the potential health risks associated with traffic noise.

It is crucial to recognize that traffic noise can have a detrimental effect on health, including tinnitus, cardiovascular diseases, and dementia, among others. As such, measures must be taken to mitigate noise pollution in urban areas, such as implementing quieter road surfaces and reducing traffic volume during nighttime hours. By prioritizing the reduction of traffic noise, we can improve the quality of life for individuals and promote better health outcomes for communities as a whole.