People in quieter houses may live longer. A new report by the World Health Organization says that chronic noise, including traffic, is causing heart disease that leads to premature deaths.
The WHO has a working group called the "Noise Environmental Burden on Disease" that has researched the subject since 2003. Essentially, noise causes stress hormones to circulate through the body. Those stress hormones (which, by the way, circulate even when you're asleep) can encourage stress-related health risks like strokes, high blood pressure--even heart attacks.
Noise levels, unlike water quality or air pollution, are often not the subject of strict regulation because there isn't an obvious health risk. Instead noise is often seen as an annoyance, an integral part of urban living.
But in the light of these new findings, regulations that create quieter cities might be a good idea. They might create happier, healthier cities, reducing strain on local health resources and giving citizens one less thing to complain about.