The association between noise exposure and blood pressure and ischemic heart disease: a meta-analysis

Environ Health Perspect. 2002 Mar;110(3):307-17. doi: 10.1289/ehp.02110307.


It has been suggested that noise exposure is associated with blood pressure changes and ischemic heart disease risk, but epidemiologic evidence is still limited. Furthermore, most reviews investigating these relations were not carried out in a systematic way, which makes them more prone to bias. We conducted a meta-analysis of 43 epidemiologic studies published between 1970 and 1999 that investigate the relation between noise exposure (both occupational and community) and blood pressure and/or ischemic heart disease (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, codes 410-414). We studied a wide range of effects, from blood pressure changes to a myocardial infarction. With respect to the association between noise exposure and blood pressure, small blood pressure differences were evident. Our meta-analysis showed a significant association for both occupational noise exposure and air traffic noise exposure and hypertension: We estimated relative risks per 5 dB(A) noise increase of 1.14 (1.01-1.29) and 1.26 (1.14-1.39), respectively. Air traffic noise exposure was positively associated with the consultation of a general practitioner or specialist, the use of cardiovascular medicines, and angina pectoris. In cross-sectional studies, road traffic noise exposure increases the risk of myocardial infarction and total ischemic heart disease. Although we can conclude that noise exposure can contribute to the prevalence of cardiovascular disease, the evidence for a relation between noise exposure and ischemic heart disease is still inconclusive because of the limitations in exposure characterization, adjustment for important confounders, and the occurrence of publication bias.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Epidemiologic Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Hypertension / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / etiology*
  • Myocardial Ischemia / epidemiology
  • Myocardial Ischemia / etiology*
  • Noise / adverse effects*
  • Risk Assessment