Long-term exposure to loud music has been linked to a greater risk of heart attack and diseases. People prone to heart disease should be aware that chronic noise exposure where they live may raise their risk.
By India Today Health Desk: On March 4, 2023, 22-year-old Surendra Kumar, a resident of Sitamarhi in Bihar, died of a heart attack after he exchanged garlands with his bride on the stage. His family members said the groom collapsed on the stage after he felt uncomfortable with the high decibel of the DJ music blaring at his ‘varmala’ ceremony.
In yet another similar incident, a 19-year-old man collapsed and died while dancing at the wedding of his relative in Telangana. In another tragic incident, a man died of a heart attack while he was dancing at a wedding function in Varanasi‘s Piplani Katra on November 25 last year. The viral video from the function showed the man shaking his leg with other group members before he suddenly collapses on the ground.
In the past few months, a spate of shocking incidents has been witnessed in India wherein people were seen suddenly collapsing and, in some cases, dying, unable to bear loud music.
HEALTHY ADULTS EXPOSED TO CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES
In November 2019, a study was published in the European Heart Journal shows that any kind of music, be it loud or soft, can make a person vulnerable and weak.
Researchers conducted the study on 500 healthy adults, who were living or working near busy market areas and were constantly exposed to loud music. The study, which was conducted for five years, revealed that people having no symptoms of heart diseases are exposed to cardiovascular diseases.
After adjusting for other factors that contribute to cardiovascular risk (including air pollution), they found that every 5-decibel increase in the average 24-hour noise level was associated with a 34% increase in heart attacks, strokes, and other serious heart-related problems. This also affects the amygdala (the grey matter inside the brain) which plays a key role in decision making. Chronic noise exposure causes this part to shrink, thus causing problems like aggression and mood swings.
IRREGULARITY OF HEARTBEATS CAUSES PROBLEMS
A similar study was also conducted at Mainz University Medical Center in Germany on around 15,000 people aged 35 to 74 years. The study revealed whether it is music or noise, if increased after a certain limit, can have a harmful effect on human hearts. When a person is exposed to loud music, their heartbeat increases rapidly, just as it goes up while jogging or doing physical exercises.
An irregular heartbeat is called atrial fibrillation (AFib) and due to this, there are dangers like heart attack, brain stroke and blood clots. Scientists believe that any activity that increases blood pressure can trigger fibrillation and the same happens with loud noises. In this, blood does not reach the upper two chambers of the heart properly, due to which the blood flow of the lower chambers also gets disturbed and this increases the risk of heart attack.
TOO MUCH EXPOSURE TO BE AVOIDED
Exposure to sound at too high a volume can fatigue the sensory cells and structures in the ear. If that goes on for too long, they can become permanently damaged, resulting in hearing loss. The findings of most of the studies reveal that sound up to 60 decibels is normal for the human ear. Some of the unsafe practices include use of headphones for long hours or attendance at entertainment venues, such as concerts, bars and clubs and wedding functions, according to the study.
One must avoid listening to music at 100 decibels or more for more than 15 minutes as it badly affects hearing ability. Sound above 50-70 decibels is considered harmful which affects a person’s heart and mind.
Last year, the global health body called for a standard for safe listening, saying that people aged 12 to 35 who go to music clubs or concerts are facing hearing issues. Of these, about 40 per cent of teenagers and young adults are exposed to loud music, which has a bad impact on their health.
WHAT DO INDIAN EXPERTS SAY?
Dr. Ajay Kaul, cardiologist and chairman of Fortis Hospital, said, “On one hand, music works as a therapy but on the other hand, excessively loud music or sound can have a negative impact. The sounds which give a soothing effect are used in the treatment of sleep and other mental problems. On the other hand, if there is loud music above 60 decibels, it can be very harmful. Due to this, heart arrhythmia or irregular heart beats can occur. This makes a person’s heartbeat abnormal and irregular. Arrhythmia sometimes points towards a heart attack.”