You probably suspected it: now science confirms it. Traffic noise can cause dementia. That’s what constant exposure to road and rail noise causes. It increases the likelihood of losing cognitive functions.
The research is the largest study of its kind. It was carried out in Denmark over more than a decade. It looked at people who live with transport noise. They have an increased risk of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s disease.
In total, it was data from two million adults over the age of 60. The study focused on 1,216 of the 8,475 cases of dementia recorded in Denmark in 2017. It says these could be attributed to transport noise.
“The diagnosis in some 963 patients was attributed to road traffic noise. And in 253 patients, to railroad noise.” details the scientists.
This could have a large effect on estimating the burden of disease. And health care costs attributed to transportation noise.
“We must expand our knowledge of the harmful effects of noise on health. It is essential to implement effective public health policies and strategies. We need to focus on disease prevention and control. Including dementia,” the scientists stress.
Why traffic noise can cause dementia? It is that they cause the release of stress hormones and sleep disorders. This leads to heart disease, changes in the immune system and inflammation. This is known to be linked to the onset of dementia.
The study, however, is observational and has limitations. For example, information about sound insulation in homes is unknown. It could affect people’s exposure to noise. However, the scale and duration of the research suggest that the results are reliable. The finding was published on September 9 in the scientific journal BMJ.