Road noise linked to diabetes


Do you really think that a noisy environment can affect blood sugar levels? Recently, there are studies that have suggested transportation noise, such as cars, trains, and airplanes are causes of lack of sleep and insulin resistance. Lack of sleep and insulin resistance are both contributors to type 2 diabetes.

The biggest cause of noise in big cities is road traffic. Typically, increasing traffic comes with an increase in noise levels. The surrounding buzz is at fault for a number of health problems, such as heart disease, sleep disturbance, cognitive impairment, and stress-related mental health risks.

Shortly after I started doing research on transportation noise and how it affected type 2 diabetes, an airplane took off from the airport. I live in the flight path. They are taking off and coming in at all hours of the day and night as you can imagine. Some of the bigger aircraft that take-off make the house vibrate.

On top of that, the hospital is across the street. Ambulances and fire trucks are up and down the street every day with sirens on. The only saving grace is they don’t use their sirens after 10 0’clock at night unless necessary.

Wherever you are right now you are probably hearing some type of noise. Planes flying overhead, children in the backyard, refrigerator running, the ticking of a clock, etc. All those noises can be downright annoying. And these noises have an effect on more than just your mood.


When you are under stress caused by any source, your elevated hormones will increase the risk of insulin resistance. Stress can also lead to a lack of sleep, which will increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

According to Ruth S. Pupo, RDN, a certified diabetes educator at White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles, “anytime your body is under stress, blood sugars will rise due to elevated cortisol levels.”


At least, for now, most agree there is only an association between transportation noise and diabetes. There has not been a proven cause and effect relationship. In the future, research needs to analyze larger geographic areas and participants to know how the two factors relate.

Another important association to record, chronic disease is higher in urban areas. If you live in a noisy area you may lack access to healthy foods and safe places to exercise. Could this possibly add to their risk?


To help reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, take the following steps:

  • Try to find ways to manage stress – take time to exercise, go for a walk, meditate, or get support from a family member. Stress plays a role in staying healthy and managing any chronic disease.
  • Make sleep a priority – go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day, even on the weekends. Wind down an hour before you fall asleep and turn off all devices 1 to 2 hours before going to bed.
  • Eliminate noise – if you live close to a high traffic area use earplugs, a white noise machine, or use a fan to drown out some of the noise to fall asleep.

No matter if its a noisy neighborhood or other factors, stress management will help reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. Of course, you also need to follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly. The good news is there are strategies (above) to help deal with the transportation noise linked to type 2 diabetes.

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