by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition
This article, online and in the print version of Prevention magazine, discusses noise pollution and how loud noise can affect health. Loud noise causes auditory problems–hearing loss, tinnitus, and hyperacusis–but also has less known non-auditory health effects as well. These include sleep disturbances, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, leading to increased mortality.
It’s relatively easy to protect one’s ears from auditory damage: avoid loud noise or use hearing protection if one can’t.
Protecting populations from the non-auditory health effects of noise will take concerted political effort to get legislation requiring quieter planes, vehicles, and trains passed and enforced.
But I believe if enough people complain to enough elected officials, a quieter world is possible.
Dr. Daniel Fink is a leading noise activist based in the Los Angeles area. He is the founding chair of The Quiet Coalition, an organization of science, health, and legal professionals concerned about the impacts of noise on health, environment, learning, productivity, and quality of life in America. Dr Fink also is the interim chair of Quiet Communities’ Health Advisory Council, and he served on the board of the American Tinnitus Association from 2015-2018.