Noise pollution can lead to sleep issues, chronic health problems

February 2, 2023 – Noise pollution is a growing problem that can lead to sleep disruption and insomnia as well as chronic health conditions such as heart disease, cognitive impairment, depression, and anxiety, according to experts.

Much noise pollution comes from traffic. Other forms of noise pollution include the sounds of leaf blowers, construction, airplanes taking off and landing, and buzzing drones.

Loud noises can signal to the auditory system that something is wrong, triggering a fight-or-flight-response, which floods the body with stress hormones that cause inflammation and can lead to disease, said Peter James, associate professor in the Department of Environmental Health at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in a January 5 Kaiser Health News article.

Low-income communities and those with a large proportion of nonwhite residents are disproportionately impacted by traffic noise, James and colleagues found in a 2017 paper. “We’ve made these conscious or subconscious decision as a society to put minority-race communities who have the least amount of political power in areas near highways and airports,” he said.

Read the Kaiser Health News article: Lost sleep and jangled nerves: The rising onslaught of noise harms mind and body