A report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed that thousands of people in the UK and around the world are dying prematurely from heart disease because of long-term exposure to excessive noise.
According to the study, the noise threshold for cardiovascular problems is night-time exposure of 50 decibels, which is equivalent to the noise of light traffic.
For sleep disturbance, the level is 42 decibels, while for general annoyance it is 35 decibels, the sound of a whisper.
Deepak Prasher, professor of audiology at University College London, told the New Scientist magazine: "The new data provide the link showing there are earlier deaths because of noise. Until now, noise has been the Cinderella form of pollution and people haven't been aware that it has an impact on their health."
The WHO's working group on the Noise Environmental Burden on Disease began studying the health effects of noise in 2003.