SPOKANE, Wash. – Sirens, construction and snow blowers. They are every day, and sometimes never-ending, sounds that can keep us awake at night and can really test our patience.

Noise pollution is not just hard on the ears and nerves. According to a new study published in the Journal of The American College of Cardiology, people and animals who are exposed to frequent loud noise have higher rates of heart disease, including high blood pressure, stroke and heart failure.

It can be simple stuff, a seemingly unnoticeable noise from a baby monitor or a vibrating cell phone in the middle of the night or even more obvious stuff like a pounding jack hammer or bumper to bumper traffic outside your home and office. All of it can trigger your brain's "fight or flight" response, which releases adrenaline and stress causing hormones that can cause damage to the heart and blood vessels over time.

The medical community is starting to notice the magnitude and long-term effects noise can have at the cellular level. Hospitals are installing sound proof walls, enforcing quiet hours and moving areas of congregation away from patient care.

You can minimize the risks of noise pollution in your life by identifying and controlling the source of noise in your home and at work. For example, is noise being created by kids and pets running across a floor without carpeting or that banging heating unit needing repairs? Are you unplugging, relaxing and recovering from the chaos you have been exposed to during the day?

Also hold your cities and counties accountable when it comes to the noise pollution.


Dr. Deirdre Mooney with Providence Spokane Heart Institute