Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Heart Disease Health Center

Font Size

Noise Exposure Linked to Heart Attacks

German Study Connects Chronic Noise to Heart Attack Risk
WebMD Health News

Sept. 3, 2004 -- Shh, your heart needs a little peace and quiet.

Chronic noise exposure may increase your risk of heart attack, according to German researchers who interviewed more than 4,000 heart attack patients admitted to Berlin hospitals between 1998 and 2001. The researchers looked at to what extent the patients had been bothered by annoying noises from sources like traffic, industrial sites, or construction zones.

Participants were asked about the noises, their sources, and how vexing the sounds had been. The researchers also considered traffic around the patients' homes and calculated how much noise they had been exposed to at work over a 10-year period.

For women, environmental noises were a health hazard. Those who reported annoying environmental noises were 50% more likely to have had a heart attack than those who didn't report them.

Men weren't affected by environmental noises, but noisy workplaces made them 30% more likely to have a heart attack. Workplace noise didn't seem to bother a woman's heart.

Studies have suggested chronic noise exposure causes stress, which leads to increases in blood pressure and changes in cholesterol. These changes can contribute to the development of heart disease.

How much noise is too much? It's hard to say, since people respond differently to sounds.

"For example, if your neighbor is playing the piano, it may be extremely annoying despite a low noise level, while going to the opera may be extremely loud, but pleasurable," says researcher Stefan Willich in a news release.

Willich presented the study at a meeting of the European Society of Cardiology.

Today on WebMD

x-ray of human heart
A visual guide.
atrial fibrillation
Symptoms and causes.
heart rate graph
10 things to never do.
heart rate
Get the facts.
empty football helmet
red wine
eating blueberries
Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
Inside A Heart Attack
Omega 3 Sources
Salt Shockers
lowering blood pressure