While living in a city definitely has its perks, the constant stimuli urban environments provide could actually be bad for our health, according to new findings reported by Harper’s Bazaar. The Environmental Burden of Disease project, an initiative presented at the 2016 World Health Organization (WHO) Ministerial Conference, found that noise pollution is the second greatest threat to public health behind air pollution.
A little noise may seem like an annoyance more than anything else, but a recent study found that noise pollution can be linked to negative health effects, Harper’s Bazaar reports. Originally conducted in 2013 (though recently updated), researchers found that people who lived near the Athens airport in Greece were more likely to develop cardiovascular disease and hypertension due to exposure to aircraft noise.
Harper’s Bazaar writer Andrea Bartz notes that this is not the first time the WHO has presented research related to noise pollution. Bartz writes, “WHO has published data linking environmental noise with cognitive impairment, disturbed sleep, tinnitus, and cardiovascular disease; in Germany alone, traffic noise causes about 1,629 heart attacks each year, one study found.”
If you live in an urban area, you may feel like you’ve adjusted to the ruckus of city life. But environmental psychologist Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., suggests it’s only a matter of time. “Even if you don’t have health problems yet, you’ll have diminished quality of life [from noise pollution],” she told Harper’s Bazaar.
The 24-hour convenience stores and late-night food options might be top notch, but it’s probably not worth compromising your health in the long term. So, if you’re hoping to reduce your stress levels, city life may not be for you.
Read more about the effects noise pollution in Harper’s Bazaar.