ISLAMABAD: A Swedish research team recently uncovered an increase in both hypertension and asymptomatic organ damage in those who are exposed to aircraft sounds over prolonged periods of time.

With airports multiplying and expanding, more and more people are exposed to aircraft noise on a regular basis.

Exposure has previously been associated with sleep disturbances, breathing problems during the night, and nervousness.

Emerging research suggests that aircraft noise might have significant physical effects on individuals who are subjected to the highest levels of noise.

Marta Rojek, from Jagiellonian University Medical College in Krakow, Poland and her team investigated aircraft noise and its effect on hypertension and asymptomatic organ damage.

The individuals' blood pressure was measured, as was the stiffness of their aorta and the mass and function of the heart's left ventricle (one of the heart's four chambers).

Aortic stiffness is a marker for biological aging and is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events, such as stroke and myocardial infarction.

As expected, those living nearest to airports, and enduring the highest air traffic noises, fared least well. Individuals living in an area where there was greater air traffic noise had increased hypertension, when compared with those who lived in quieter areas - 40 percent and 24 percent, respectively.