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All This Horn-Honking And Tire-Screeching Might Shorten Our Lives

(Photo by Gary Kavanagh via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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A recent study shows that listening to the bustling noises of L.A. traffic might be shortening your life. The study, which comes from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Imperial College London and King's College London, suggests that constant exposure to the tire-squealing, horn-blaring soundscape of congested metro areas increases your risk of heart attack or death, the L.A. Times reports.

Their research shows that those who are exposed to moderately loud or very loud traffic noises throughout the day over an extended period of time have a 4% greater risk of "death from any cause." This is specifically referring to noise levels of 60 decibels or higher as compared to more tranquil places. Risk of ischemic heart disease increases by 3% in adults and 4% among the elderly. This specifically refers to noise levels of 55-60 decibels, as compared to areas where daytime noise level are under 55 decibels.

Why is this so? Well, researchers think it's because listening to that much tire-screeching and engine-revving can cause your blood pressure to shoot up and increase the levels of stress hormones. This can lead to elevated stress and trouble sleeping.

Not everyone may be as sensitive to these noises, but if you're looking to distance yourself from the chaos, experts suggest blocking it out with white noise or music, and by sealing passageways in your home that allow in more noise. Other advice includes deep breathing, regular exercise and a healthy diet to decrease stress and maintain your health.

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You can also use HowLoud to see the sound score in a particular area. This application measures the sound by building a 3D map of the buildings and the roads around addresses typed in by the user to determine how loud the area is.