Sound is a wave, a series of compressions in air. Sound can trigger memories, release past memories, stimulate joy and can even be used in the process of healing, a technique called sympathetic resonance. Reduction in noise levels and blood pressure has been associated with a 35-40 percent reduction in strokes and 20-25 percent reduction in coronary disease.
This being one side of the coin, the other side is that disturbing sound can lead to deterioration in the health of an individual. A group of researchers from University of Michigan have established that working in loud places can raise levels of blood pressure. The results have a lot of clinical implication as high blood pressure has been linked to a number of chronic diseases. Therefore, an understanding of the relationship between noise and blood pressure is important.
Blood pressure readings are given as two numbers, with one above or before the other, such as 120/80 mm Hg. The top number is systolic and the bottom is diastolic. The fact that people spend most of their time at work adds concern about blood pressure that forms an important part of health. Furthermore, it remains elevated even if the noise levels decline after outside of work.
The study analyzed studied different types of noise usually found in the factory setting. It was categorized into three groups as follows: continuous "usual" noise (recorded between 41-103 decibels), elevated continuous noise (found to be between 46-124 decibels), and spikes in instantaneous loud noises (113-145 decibels).
A different approach that required the study participants to simultaneously record the noise levels and their blood pressure throughout the day by an externally fitted monitor was used. The frequency of the noise recording was one recording per minute while heart rate and blood pressure were taken every 10 minutes.
At the end of the analysis, the following observations were made. Overall noise exposure had a significant effect on blood pressure while the heart rate was worst affected by instantaneous peak noises. An increase in 10 decibels in average noise exposure resulted in a systolic blood pressure increase of two millimeters of mercury.
An increase of 13 decibels in average noise exposure led to a two-millimeter increase in diastolic blood pressure. Moreover, it was found that wearing appropriate ear protection, most commonly neglected in an industrial set up could significantly reduce blood pressure. Compromising on ear protection for even 30 minutes could cut the effectives by half.
The study results are consistent with another study from an auto assembly plant that relates noise exposure with elevated levels of systolic and diastolic blood pressure and heart rate.
There has been a growing concern regarding the ill effects related to noise in the work place. A considerable reduction in the noise levels can lead to improved performance hence productivity. Appropriate measures have to be taken by the employers to enforce use of hearing protection. Provision of training regarding the use of ear protection devices and display of reminders in the form of posters in lunchrooms can sensitize workers regarding the benefits of hearing protection.
Medindia On High Blood Pressure:
High blood pressure (hypertension) is often called the silent killer because you can have it for years without knowing it. Blood pressure is typically recorded as the systolic pressure (as the heart beats) over the diastolic pressure (as the heart relaxes between beats). A consistent blood pressure reading of 140/90 mm Hg or higher is considered high blood pressure, another term for hypertension.
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