Boston is noisy and that can affect health

Photo credit: Andrés García from Pexels

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

This report from Boston public radio station WGBH discusses increasing noise levels in Boston, quoting Boston Magazine reporter Spencer Buell and noise researcher Erica Walker MSc, ScD. Dr. Walker is now at the Brown University School of Public Health, where she also runs the Community Noise Lab.

Noise levels have increased in Boston, as have noise complaints.

As Dr. Walker notes, “loud noises can trigger a person’s fight-or-flight response. As stress-related hormones get released, they may experience sweaty palms or nausea. And if noises repeatedly trigger that fight-or-flight response, a person may face long-term health issues.”

She adds that “[o]ver a period of time, that constant stimulation of that stress response can lead to more serious negative health outcomes, like hypertension,” noting that some studies have shown “an increased risk of cardiovascular-related mortality.”

“And then just imagine that you don’t have control over that. What do we usually associate with lack of control over your life? That could be anxiety or depression as well,” Walker adds.

We hope the municipal authorities in Boston will take steps to make Boston quieter, because a quieter city is a better and healthier place for all.



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