A recent study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives highlights the harmful effects of transportation noise on human health, including a significant increase in the risk of developing tinnitus. The nationwide cohort study, conducted by researchers at the University of Southern Denmark and the Danish Cancer Society Research Center, included all residents in Denmark over the age of 30 years and found that for every 10 dB increase in noise in a person’s home, the risk of tinnitus increased by 6%. New Study Reveals Greater Extent of Amazon Rainforest Degradation
The study supports growing evidence of the negative health impacts of transportation noise, which affects over 100 million people in Europe alone and is believed to cause stress reactions that activate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, leading to increased stress hormones and decreased sleep quality. Despite growing recognition of these health effects, the full extent of their impact remains unclear, with a lack of studies investigating transportation noise and hearing-related outcomes such as tinnitus.
Tinnitus is a common disorder characterized by the perception of sound in the ears or head without an external source and affects between 5% and 43% of the population worldwide. Although often treatable, tinnitus is considered a stressor in itself and can lead to increased physiological arousal and psychological distress.
The researchers believe that nighttime noise exposure, which affects sleep quality and duration, can be even worse for health. They call for a greater focus on the importance of traffic noise as a health risk and its consideration in urban planning and political decisions, given that not everyone has the option to reduce noise in their homes through measures such as soundproof windows or sleeping in a room away from the road.