For every faculty of perception there is, according to the degree of irritation, a biochemical or psychobiological activation. This is also true for the perception of sound or noise. Initially, these processes allow for the adjustment of the organism to a changed situation (eustress). Prolonged effects of stressors may ultimately lead to regulatory disturbances and induce pathological processes (distress). The pathogenetic concept that psychobiological stresses (e.g. noise) may be connected with the well-known risk factors of cardiovascular diseases, through exitation of the central nervous system, is based on the known stress models. The central connective factors are the activation hormones of the adrenal gland, also referred to as stress hormones. From blood and urine parameters recorded in epidemiological and experimental studies under the influence of acute or chronic noise, a simplified model of the pathogenetic mechanism has been developed. Fundamental conditions for future assessing the 'stress hormones' have been derived, by means of which premorbid conditions can be determined on a population or group basis. © 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.
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