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Loud noise is bad for health; here’s what research says

The studies have found that exposure to loud noise can cause cancer-related DNA damage and high blood pressure.

All of us know that loud noise is bad for ears — that it is potentially damaging and can even lead to permanent loss of hearing. Which is why experts advise that we invest in proper paraphernalia including quality headphones and ear pods, and stay away from high-decibel places. There have been numerous studies conducted in the past that show how noise exposure can cause serious health problems in people. Two recent studies conducted on mice, however, have made it more conclusive and thrown some more light on it.

The studies have found that exposure to loud noise can cause cancer-related DNA damage and high blood pressure. Published in The FASEB Journal, the first study found that healthy mice exposed to four days of aircraft noise, were more likely to develop high blood pressure. It also explained that for mice with pre-established high blood pressure, this noise exposure could worsen the damage to the heart because of a “a synergistic increase of oxidative stress and inflammation in the cardiovascular and neuronal systems”.

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In the second study it was found that the same noise exposure could induce “oxidative DNA damage” in mice, which could potentially lead to a “highly mutagenic DNA lesion” previously linked with the development of cancer in other settings.

Study researcher Matthias Oelze from the University Medical Centre of Mainz in Germany, was quoted as saying: “Our new data provide additional mechanistic insights into these adverse health effects, especially high blood pressure and potentially cancer development, both leading causes of global death.”

To understand the connection better, researchers are conducting more such studies on the health effects of loud noise — these include finding out more about pre-established cardiovascular diseases and their association with noise, and if noise exposure in mice brings about a behavioural effect.

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“These new findings, together with our other work on noise-associated cardiovascular effects, could lead to a better understanding of how noise influences health,” Oelze said, adding that the findings could help make policies to better protect people from diseases caused by noise exposure.

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