City centre sound assault could be a heart-stopper

28 June 2017 - 05:50 By The Daily Telegraph
Adderley Street in the Cape Town CBD
Adderley Street in the Cape Town CBD

Scientists have found that fluctuating sounds on busy high streets disturb cardiac rhythms.

Researchers at Nottingham Trent University found that constant and rapid changes in noise, even when it was not loud, had an immediate and disruptive effect on the patterns of study participants' heart rate.

The team said their findings add to a growing body of research that shows that our everyday surroundings have implications for our long-term health.

Shoppers were asked to wear body sensors to monitor their heart rate as they moved about a city centre for 45 minutes.

"If this pattern of rapid change [in ambient noise] is repeated frequently there is a danger that it will lead to cardiovascular problems," said researcher Eiman Kanjo, of the university's School of Science and Technology.

The research was published in the journal Information Fusion.