By Vince Gerasole

(CBS) – The loud noise of L trains passing every seven minutes used to be a problem for Lyon & Healy Harps, until they installed double-pained windows to block it out.

But from cars rumbling down highways to piercing jets taking off, cardiologists now warn traffic noise is impacting our cardiovascular system and may increase the risk of heart disease.

Apparently noise induces a stress response that aggravates the sympathetic nervous system, bumping up the production of certain hormones and that leads to vascular damage.

“That really can create high blood pressure, and once that starts to happen you get an increase in strokes and heart attacks and heart failure,” says Dr. Kim Williams of Rush University Medical Center, who has trains rattling outside his window, too.

He’s not bothered by the sound.

“After awhile you don’t hear it,” he says, “but that doesn’t mean that my blood vessels aren’t hearing it.”

Homes near airports are often sound-proofed, and workers wear protective gear, but this scientific review by the American College of Cardiology warns the general public needs to listen more carefully to the impact of transportation noise.


Vince Gerasole