Thursday, December 12, 2013

Noise and Air Pollution Effects on Seniors

                                           Over 55 Community

Ongoing studies show a correlation between noise pollution and the health of older persons. We have always suspected that air and noise pollution are not good for people as they age and these studies are showing this to be true.      

Blood Pressure Increases for Those Over 65 Exposed to Noise

In one study it was found that high noise levels raise blood pressure on those over 65.  On younger people the effects are negligible in this study.

Noise negatively affected blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and caused more heart attacks and stroke in persons living in high traffic areas. However, in some cases it was not determined if it was the noise or the air pollution caused by traffic.

Some of the noises studied were air traffic, road traffic noise, hospital noise levels, and restaurant noise.

In one particularly interesting study the conclusion was that residential traffic noise was associated with a higher incidence of stroke in people over 64.5 years but not in younger people.*

  *From the European Heart Journal content on noise studies and its effects on heart health.

Over 55 Communities Can Be a Refuge from Noise

There is one place that you can go to get a quieter environment. That place is an over 55 community.  This is the prime reason I like them. I have always liked quiet but now as I age I am finding it a more and more desirable element for retirement. 

These types of communities:

  • Have rules and restrictions to protect you 
  • Have very few children or teenagers around  
  • Have residents that are slower, take more naps, and require more rest
These features overall encourage a more quiet and restful environment.    

You have to know yourself to determine the level of quiet that is right for you.

If you must work in the city--don't live in the city

            See Portland, Maine article on my website

Urban Communities

The opposite of a quiet area would be an urban community with surrounding city noises such as street traffic, loud people and music, sirens and noisy garbage trucks. These communities are very popular now especially since people are living and working longer.  However, if you are worried about stroke or heart attacks, these health studies indicate you may wish to find a quieter environment. 

There are communities located in rural or suburban areas around cities but out of the congestion and noise.  The newer ones are usually located around transportation hubs for an easier commute to jobs in the city.


  •  Buying in Locations Near Noise

Even in a quiet residential community if your home is on the busiest road there, you may want to re-think that choice.

In a country community you could get some noise pollution from air traffic overhead if you live near an airport (another study was ongoing for this with a correlation between airplane noise and heart health.)

There are headphones you can wear to deaden noise. I tried out a pair of those on a recent airplane flight and it did make a difference in noise level.  

Some studies aren't sure if the bad effects are due to noise or the air pollution created.

  • Noise In Other Situations

I find myself now going to restaurants at their more quiet times (choose 2:30PM right before the luncheon special is over) or shopping early in the morning when no one else is around and staying away during high traffic times.  It is just more peaceful that way.  Now I suspect it really does affect my physiological well being.

  • Noises at Night

Loud levels of noise are especially harmful at night because they affect sleep.  Stop by a potential property at night to make sure it is quiet.  If you work in a noisy environment, you may not want to live in one.  Living away from a large city you will have some periods of quiet at night and on weekends. 

Find a Quiet Place to Live 

Take a good look at your prospective retirement home and decide if the air and noises around you will be helpful or harmful to your health.

These studies seem to suggest finding a quiet place to live would be recommended in your golden years.


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