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Can That Traffic Really Give You A Stroke?

Can That Traffic Really Give You A Stroke?

Have you ever said that traffic noise outside your window was going to be the death of you? Well, you might not have been exaggerating. A study published online today in the European Heart Journal says that exposure to road traffic noise boosts the risks of stroke, particularly in those over 65 years of age.

Danish researchers monitored over 50,000 people for a decade and tracked the traffic noise levels at each person’s home over time. Each individual’s overall health was also tracked, and the study took in to account other factors such as diet, smoking, air pollution and other noise factors such as airplanes.  

During the study timeframe, participants suffered 1,661 strokes.  After data crunching, 8% of these strokes overall could include traffic noise as a factor. When you focus on an age group, the number of people over 65 who could attribute noise as a factor jumped to 19% – or one in five.

The study does not claim that road noise directly causes strokes. However, the presence of such noise can lead to increased stress levels and poorer quality of sleep, which are both risk factors in overall health.

So while the advice would seem to be to stay away from dwellings on busy streets, it’s unfortunately not that simple. Socioeconomic factors often will drive people on lower incomes to less desireable housing, such as a location facing a busy street. Still, with this knowledge,  it may be possible for the elderly to take precautions – such as investing in a good set of earplugs to guarantee a good night’s sleep.

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By Shyaulis Andrjus [GFDL ( or CC-BY-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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8:18AM PDT on May 3, 2011


2:39AM PST on Feb 11, 2011

Thank you for posting.

1:07PM PST on Feb 6, 2011

Thanks for the post Shannon. I live in a small town which is quiet, but when I have to go to the city the noise bothers me...but more than that is being stuck in traffic especially in winter, with everyone's motors running, the smell and emmissions get to me. Others that drive over the speed limit and cut in and out scares me and that makes me feel that I could have a stroke.

7:26AM PST on Jan 31, 2011

Ain't this the truth!

11:10PM PST on Jan 30, 2011

too much cars.....

3:54AM PST on Jan 30, 2011


10:03PM PST on Jan 28, 2011

noted thanx :0

7:44PM PST on Jan 28, 2011

the whole thing used to boil my blood thats why I am using public transportation now....takes a bit longer to get from A to B but the peace is amazing.....

1:46AM PST on Jan 28, 2011

Never thought about noise from traffic, that way. I figured it would mess with a person's health by breathing the polluted air.

11:27PM PST on Jan 27, 2011

Traffic doesn't stress me, however, due to financial situation I do live in a basement apt. in a house and the people upstairs cause me to be tense. They have no idea how much noise is created over my head when racing through the house much like a herd of animals by walking on the heels of their feet at whatever time of day or night they wish. They annoy me by leaving laundry unfinished in the laundry room for several days at a time when it is a shared laundry room. These things are more stressful to me than driving in and being around traffic.

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