City noise pollution linked to loss of hearing
You’ve heard it right- there’s a link between urban noise pollution and hearing loss.
Researchers at Mimi and Charite University Hospital in Berlin looked into combined databases from the World Health Organization (WHO) and SINTEF, a Norwegian-based technology research group, to develop a noise pollution ranking for cities across the globe.
Cities such as Cairo, Istanbul, New Delhi and Guangzhou emerged as the top high-decibel cities where hearing was most degraded. Hongkong, Shanghai, Barcelona also topped the list of big noise makers while Paris ranked as third biggest ear-splitting city.
Seoul, Stockholm, Amsterdam and Stuggart were deemed as cities less likely to damage one’s ears.
The results of the study revealed that people in the noisiest cities were ten years “older” in terms of hearing loss compared to people living in the quietest cities.
“The fact that noise pollution and hearing loss have such a tight correlation points to an intricate relationship,” Henrik Matthies, managing director of Mimi Hearing Technologies told AFP.
However, researchers noted that the findings are still preliminary and are yet to be submitted for peer-reviewed publication. They stressed that hearing loss, which can also be influenced by infections, premature birth, genetic disorder, and some medicines, is not necessarily mainly caused by city noise.
According to the WHO, unaddressed hearing loss’ annual costs are between $750 billion and $790 billion globally. Societal costs, which comes from inability to communicate, stigma and social isolation, were approximately more than $500 billion.