City noise linked to hearing loss: study
Urban noise pollution and hearing loss are closely linked, according to rankings of 50 large cities in both categories released on Friday.
High-decibel urban areas — such as Guangzhou, New Delhi, Cairo and Istanbul — topped the list of cities where hearing was most degraded, researchers reported.
Likewise, cities least afflicted by noise pollution — including Zurich, Vienna, Oslo and Munich — registered the lowest levels of decline in hearing.
This statistical link does not necessarily mean the constant din of city life is the main driver of hearing loss, which can also be caused by infections, genetic disorders, premature birth, and even some medicines.
The findings are also preliminary, and have yet to be submitted for peer-reviewed publication.
“But this is a robust result,” said Henrik Matthies, managing director of Mimi Hearing Technologies, a German company that has amassed data on 200,000 people drawn from a hearing test administered via cell phones.
“The fact that noise pollution and hearing loss have such a tight correlation points to an intricate relationship,” he told AFP.
Researchers at Mimi and Charite University Hospital in Berlin explored the link by constructing two separate databases.
The first combined information from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Norwegian-based technology research group SINTEF to create a noise pollution ranking for cities around the world.
Stockholm, Seoul, Amsterdam and Stuttgart were also among the least likely to assault one’s ears, while Shanghai, Hong Kong and Barcelona came out as big noise makers.
Paris — one of the most densely populated major cities in Europe — scored as the third most cacophonous.
The ranking for hearing loss drew from Mimi’s phone-based test, in which respondents indicated age and sex. Geo-location technology pinpointed the cities.
The results were measured against a standard for age-adjusted hearing.
On average, people in the loudest cities were ten years “older” — in terms of hearing loss — than those in the quietest cities, the study found.
Stacked side-by-side, the two city rankings are remarkably similar, suggesting more than an incidental link.
The findings highlight the need for better monitoring, the researchers said.
“While eye and sight checks are routine, ear and hearing exams are not,” said Manfred Gross, head of the department of Audiology and Phoniatrics at Charite University Hospital.
“The earlier hearing loss is detected, the better the chances are for preventing further damage.”
Collaborations between scientists and private companies that collect health-related information from consumers are becoming more common in the era of Big Data.
California-based DNA genetic testing company 23andMe, for example, has worked extensively with university researchers to ferret out rare genetic disorders by combing through mountains of anonymous data from its clients.
Also on Friday, World Hearing Day, the WHO released figures showing annual costs of unaddressed hearing loss of between $750 billion and $790 billion globally.
Direct health care costs were calculated to be up to $107 billion, with loss of productivity due to unemployment or early retirement about the same.
“Societal costs” — stemming from social isolation, inability to communicate and stigma — were estimated at more than $500 billion.
In a recent editorial, the medical journal The Lancet said hearing loss is a “silent epidemic”, noting that proper care remains out of reach for millions of people.
Mimi Hearing Technologies develops music applications that adjust to the individual hearing deficiencies of listeners.
HumSub TV is Pakistan’s leading forwarding-thinking, edutainment channel, aimed at promoting and upholding peace, interfaith harmony and social responsibility within Pakistan through informative and insightful programmes and documentaries; analytical interviews on issues pertaining to social, economic, legal and environmental set-up; dedicated shows to canvass and thereby promote the culture and heritage of Pakistan and in-depth coverage of national and international news.
HumSub TV is the first channel and thus a pioneer within its own right that mainly focuses on emphasising the “Rights” as well as the “Obligations” of the citizens in light of the Constitution of Pakistan, numerous International declarations signed by the Government and various laws that have been promulgated over the years but are not in the knowledge of the common citizen.
HumSub TV also aims to enter into bilateral agreements with other countries to promote not only their culture, heritage and tourism, but also their educational and medical facilities.
Following the successful launch of HumSub TV’s head office in Blue Area, Islamabad; the bureau office has been set up in Lahore.
To project positive image building of Pakistan and inculcate nationalism, as per the vision of the founder of the nation, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
HumSub TV is resolute about the promotion of a pluralistic, inclusive and egalitarian society in Pakistan where all citizens are allowed to contribute to promote interfaith harmony, peace andcollective wisdom in the social, political and economic development of Pakistan and to encourage critical and lateral thinking in the society. HumSub TV strives to make a positive contribution to this end.
HumSub TV’s Theme
HumSub TV, Pakistan’s first EDUTAINMENT Channel, has been set up for not only those audience residing in Pakistan or overseas but the international community on the whole. The vision of the channel is to project positive image building of Pakistan and inculcate nationalism as per the vision of the founder of the nation.
HumSub TV strives to make a positive contribution to this end by promoting pluralism, inclusiveness and egality in Pakistan and give voice to the suppressed. It endeavors to act as a positive catalyst for social change and Pakistani nationalism. It envisions providing a platform for airing critical and lateral thinking and collective wisdom by inviting positive minded intellectuals and opinion forming individuals for the promotion of interfaith harmony and peace in the social, political and economic development of Pakistan.
Whereas the channel airs upbeat edutainment programmes, it, nonetheless, has the primary objective of countering negative anti-Pakistan regional and international propaganda as well as advancing fundamental rights as encapsulated in the Constitution of Pakistan.
For more information :humsub.tv