Navigation Links
Do you hear what I hear? Noise exposure surrounds us

ANN ARBOR, Mich.---Nine out of 10 city dwellers may have enough harmful noise exposure to risk hearing loss, and most of that exposure comes from leisure activities.

Historically, loud workplaces were blamed for harmful noise levels.

But researchers at the University of Michigan found that noise from MP3 players and stereo use has eclipsed loud work environments, said Rick Neitzel, assistant professor in the U-M School of Public Health and the Risk Science Center. Robyn Gershon, a professor with the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco is the principal investigator on the study.

This proved true even though MP3 player and stereo listening were just a small fraction of each person's total annual noise exposure.

Neitzel said he was surprised by the findings. As an occupational hygienist, he expected regular users of trains and buses along with work-related activities to be the chief culprits in excessive noise exposure.

They found that one in 10 transit users had noise exposures exceeding the recommended limits from transit use alone. But when they estimated the total annual exposure from all sources, 90 percent of transit users and 87 percent of nonusers exceeded the recommended limits, primarily due to MP3 and stereo usage.

"That two out of three people get the majority of noise exposure from music is pretty striking," Neitzel said. "I've always viewed the workplace as a primary risk for noise exposure. But this would suggest that just focusing our efforts on the workplace isn't enough, since there's lots of noise exposure happening elsewhere."

The implications are startling, said Neitzel.

"I do think it's a serious problem, there aren't really any other experiences where we would tolerate having nine out of 10 people exposed at a level we know is hazardous. We certainly wouldn't tolerate this with another agent, such as something that caused cancer or chronic disease. Yet for some reason we do for noise."

Researchers initially set out to examine the contribution of common noise sources to total annual noise exposures among urban residents for mass transit usage; occupational and non-occupational activities, MP3 player and stereo use; and time at home doing other miscellaneous activities. They looked at what caused the majority of potentially harmful exposures in 4,500 residents in New York City who used public transportation.

With any environmental exposure, until scientists know the length of exposure, the exposure level means nothing. The average New York transit user spends about 380 or so hours either waiting for or riding transit, which has average noise levels of 72-81 decibels. For comparison, the average speaking level is 60 decibels, a busy street corner is 80, a circular saw is 90, a baby crying 115. The threshold for pain is about 125, and even a brief, one-time exposure above that level can cause permanent hearing loss.

"Lots of people appear to be exposed at hazardous levels," he said. "A growing number of studies show noise causes stress, sleep disturbance, and heart disease. It may be the noise which we haven't historically paid much attention to is actually contributing to some of the top health problems in developed countries today. This begs for a public health education program."


Contact: Laura Bailey
University of Michigan

Related medicine news :

1. Free Seminars to Help Employers Prevent Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Among Workers Set for Phoenix, Reno, Salt Lake City, Denver in May
2. Engineers turn noise into vision
3. Hear the World Survey Reveals Growing Noise Pollution Affecting both Physical and Mental Health
4. Millions Are Losing Their Hearing Unnecessarily; Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Is Always Preventable, Says HearUSA Audiologist
5. Share Your Walls, Not the Noise. Introducing dB-Bloc for Common Wall Sound Bleed
6. Noise and chemicals: Workers are losing their hearing
7. Workplace Noise Tied to Heart Disease Risk
8. Workplace noise-related hearing loss affects sleep quality -- Ben Gurion U. researchers
9. Loud Road Noise Linked to Stroke in Older Adults
10. Exposure to secondhand smoke among children in England has declined since 1996
11. Jion Beijing Great Wall International Travel Agency Immediate Exposure to China Expo 2010
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Global Healthcare Management’s 4th Annual Kids Fun ... NJ. This free event, sponsored by Global Healthcare Management’s CEO, Jon Letko, is ... is geared towards children of all ages; it is a non-competitive, non-timed event, which ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... , ... October 13, 2017 , ... “America On The ... identity. “America On The Brink” is the creation of published author, William Nowers. ... great-grandchildren. As a WWII veteran, he spent thirty years in the Navy. ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... IsoComforter, Inc. ( ), ... of an innovative new design of the shoulder pad. The shoulder pad provides ... while controlling your pain while using cold therapy. By utilizing ice and water that ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... , ... October 12, 2017 , ... HMP , ... recipient of a 2017 Folio Magazine Eddie Digital Award for ‘Best B-to-B Healthcare Website.’ ... on October 11, 2017. , The annual award competition recognizes editorial and design excellence ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... property taxes a year. In some states—like New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Texas, ... many overseas retirement havens have extremely low property-tax rates, which contributes to the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... 2017  Hill-Rom Holdings, Inc. ("Hill-Rom") (NYSE: HRC), today ... Las Piedras, Puerto Rico , where ... Following a comprehensive ... minor structural damage, temporary loss of power and minimal ... completed, manufacturing operations have resumed, and the company expects ...
(Date:10/4/2017)... , Oct. 4, 2017  South Korean-based healthcare ... CPR training aide "cprCUBE" on Kickstarter. The device will ... during cardiac arrests with better efficiency compared to the ... offers real-time feedback on efficacy of the compression for ... campaign has a goal to raise $5,000. ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... , Oct. 2, 2017  AllianceRx Walgreens Prime, the ... by Walgreens and pharmacy benefit manager Prime Therapeutics LLC ... brand, which included the unveiling of new signage at ... as well as at a few other company-owned facilities ... brand to patients, some of whom will begin to ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: