New research: Traffic noise increases the risk of dementia

The results show that you have a 27 percent increased risk of developing dementia if you are exposed to traffic noise above 55 decibels for a number of years, SDU writes in a press release.

Out of 8475 dementia cases in 2017, 1216 cases can be linked to traffic noise, which is a very high number, says Mette Sørensen, adjunct professor at Roskilde University (RUC) and expert in traffic noise. She is one of the researchers behind the study.

– The number is high, but one must keep in mind that this is the first study in that area. We need to do more studies before we can definitively conclude anything.

Release of stress hormones and sleep disorders resulting from traffic noise leads to cardiovascular disease, changes in the immune system and inflammation. All are seen as early events in the beginning of dementia, SDU informs.

According to the Danish Environmental Protection Agency, the limit value for road noise in Denmark is 58 decibels.

– 55 decibels corresponds to the noise in an office landscape where people talk together, Mette Sørensen explains.

– 58 decibels is equivalent to the noise from a dishwasher one meter away.

Two million Danes’ information about health has been compared with information about their address and the traffic noise they have been exposed to for ten years. They are all over 60 years old.

That traffic noise is to blame for diseases is not new, says Mette Sørensen.

– It is nothing new that traffic noise is harmful. We have known this for some years. Now we have just come to the conclusion that it causes more diseases.

– We have known for a long time that noise over a long period of time causes cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Now this study shows that you can also get dementia.

According to Mette Sørensen, the results of the research will create new opportunities for the prevention of dementia if the same result is concluded in future studies.

According to SDU, 30 percent of the Danish population is exposed to traffic noise that exceeds 58 decibels. This corresponds to approximately 1.7 million Danes.

It is in collaboration with researchers from Roskilde University (RUC) and the University of Copenhagen that SDU has conducted the study.

Source: The Nordic Page


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