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Do you hear what I hear? Noise exposure surrounds us
Date:12/21/2011

t 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."


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Contact: Laura Bailey
baileylm@umich.edu
734-764-1552
University of Michigan
Source:Eurekalert

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