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Reflecting on Reflections - June 2014
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Pathophysiological Effects of Noise

Noise is receiving much adverse publicity today. This is well deserved since noise is the one environmental pollutant about which more people complain than any other. It is known that noise can adversely affect hearing; interfere with sleep, speech reception, and work performance; and in general, be very annoying. Pathophysiological effects of noise have been suspected for some time but it is only recently that scientific measurements of these effects have been reported. These effects, mediated through the auditory-hypothalamic-pituitary-endocrine pathways include peripheral vasoconstriction, cardiac ventricular enlargement, audiogenic seizures, increased susceptibility to infection, increased fetal abnormalities and stillbirths, and changes in biochemistry to include elevated plasma cortisol and blood cholesterol levels.

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