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How can earplugs help protect my heart?

Constant clamor from traffic, industry, construction and more can take a serious toll on your heart health. But here's a quick $2 fix: earplugs.

Buy a pair, and pop 'em in whenever you find yourself surrounded by clamoring construction crews, mower-wielding landscapers or even noisy table neighbors at restaurants. Results from studies in European cities reveal that chronic exposure to sound levels above 65 decibels -- that's equivalent to merely a loud conversation -- can be hard on the heart.

In the study, which mostly involved middle-aged men who had existing risk factors for heart attack, exposure to moderate urban clatter appeared to be yet another risk factor for their hearts to deal with. Chronic exposure to noise levels of up to 65 decibels was linked to a 10% increase in heart attack risk. More aggressive noise exposure -- up to 70 decibels (about as loud as a hair dryer or vacuum cleaner) -- bumped heart attack risk by 20%. And anything on par with a garbage disposal (up to 80 decibels) was truly problematic -- increasing heart attack risk 50% with chronic exposure. Earplugs can help protect your ears and your heart.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.