Tuesday, December 19, 2017 by Zoey Sky
The noise that bothers you on a daily basis, like those often heard while commuting via subway train, can cause more than simple irritation. According to a study, noise pollution can also negatively impact your health.
A new study by researchers from the University of Toronto posits that while the various sounds that you hear while walking, cycling, driving, or commuting are often within safe exposure levels, sudden bursts of noise can cause long-term hearing loss and other health problems. Cyclists are especially at high risk, and the study even states that cycling as the activity to have the most potential to damage hearing. (Related: Links between Noise Pollution and Ill-Health.)
Dr. Vincent Lin, an associate professor in the Faculty of Medicine and one of the study’s authors, shared: “We knew it was going to be noisy but I was surprised with the frequency of the peaks.”
Using measuring devices attached to their collars, the scientists gathered noise data in the city on weekdays between April and August 2016. They rode subways, buses, streetcars, and bikes or walked. The study’s results revealed that the recommended limit on noise exposure had “exceeded in nine percent of subway measurements, 12 percent of bus measurements and 14 percent of biking measurements.”
Lid added that based on the research, Keele, Dufferin, Spadina, and Bay subway stations were the loudest.
The authors of the study warned that sudden exposure to loud noises could lead to other health concerns aside from deafness. Lin concluded: “We now are starting to understand that chronic excessive noise exposure leads to significant systemic pathology, such as depression, anxiety, increased risk of chronic diseases and increased accident risk.”
While there’s not much that you can do to minimize noise pollution levels from subway stations, you can try the tips listed below to eliminate excess noise at home or at work:
While music can often help us tune out noise, try limiting the volume of your electronic devices, especially when you are wearing headphones. Hearing loss can be caused by cumulative noise over time, and there is no way to reverse it. Never turn up the volume higher than you need to hear it. If you can’t hear because of the noise around you, consider buying a pair of noise-canceling headphones.
Read more articles on how to minimize noise pollution at GreenLivingNews.com.