How Loud Music Affects Your Health

If you’re one of the millions of runners who listen to music while you work out, you’ve probably wondered about the long-term effects on your hearing. As a new article in the British medical journal The Lancet reminds, your health can suffer in other ways from chronic exposure to excessive noise.

As Mathias Basner, Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania, US, and colleagues write about excessive noise, “Chronic exposure can cause an imbalance in an organism’s homoeostasis, which affects metabolism and the cardiovascular system, with increases in established cardiovascular disease risk factors such as blood pressure, blood lipid concentrations, blood viscosity, and blood glucose concentrations. These changes increase the risk of hypertension, arteriosclerosis, and are related to severe events, such as myocardial infarction and stroke.”

So, ready to turn the iPod down yet?

What Basner calls “social noise” includes personal music players, which research has consistently shown people listen to at volumes in excess of what’s safe. One rule of thumb is that if others can hear your music, it’s too loud.

Of course, it’s hard to know if that’s the case. It’s often recommended that, for safety’s sake, on-the-run music be kept at low enough of a volume that you can hear what’s going on around you. The new Lancet article suggests your long-term health might also benefit.

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