March 29 at 09:19
Exposure to high levels of noise is usually associated with auditory problems, such as hearing loss and tinnitus, but a new Consensus Paper by hearing specialist Amplifon has revealed additional serious health risks.
Exposure to excessive noise can double the chance of suffering from mood and sleep disorders, and increase by almost 30% difficulties with concentration and headaches. Insomnia, anxiety and stress can also be linked to noise sickness.
More worryingly, excessive noise is under scrutiny for stressing the cardiovascular system. Some studies have found that a mere five decibel increase in noise could increase the risk of suffering from hypertension by 1.4% and coronary disease and heart attack by 1.8%.
Amplifon’s Consensus Paper ‘Coping with Noise’, which is based on responses from 8,800 people across 11 countries, highlights the presence of excessive noise in big cities across the world and ranked cities across the world on the Exposure Noise Pollution Index (ENPI).
The ENPI was defined by considering the number, frequency and length of exposure to unpleasant noises. The data collected indicates that on average 28% of the population of the world is exposed to excessive noise. The index, as laid out in the Consensus Paper, found that the UK is the third noisiest country, beaten only by Italy and the United States.
The capital topped the poll of the UK’s noisiest cities, with 8% of London’s population exposed to high levels of excessive noise. Leeds came second with 7% and Birmingham was the third noisiest with 2%.
Giancarlo Cianfrone, from La Sapienza University Rome, said, “Noise exposure may harm our hearing, causing anatomical and functional damage to the ear, depending on the intensity and duration, but also on the susceptibility of each person to noise.
“The individuals most susceptible and vulnerable to noise are the youngsters and the elderly. The former are often exposed to music at high volume, while the latter could be exposed to an explosive mix for their hearing: noise, ototoxic drugs and higher risk of metabolic and cardiovascular disorders.”
Susan Holland, Chairperson of the Amplifon Group and the Centre for Research and Studies, said, “In order to continue to provide our customers with the best care possible, it is necessary to deeply understand the number one enemy of hearing, namely noise, its perception in several countries and the consequences it may have on health.”
The full ‘Coping with Noise’ Consensus Paper can be found online here.