by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition
This report from the Indian city of Pune documents hearing loss in traffic police. Apparently car horns are the main culprit. So how bad could it be? This bad:
A study of 46 traffic personnel “found that 39 of the 46 traffic personnel could not pick up high frequency tones, indicating alarmingly high (83%) presence of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) among the city’s traffic police.”
And the damage isn’t limited to hearing loss, as “the traffic personnel were also screened for hypertension,” and “13 of the 46 traffic personnel have been diagnosed with hypertension, a condition they were unaware about.
I have traveled in India, although not to Pune, and it is a noisy country. The big cities–Mumbai and Delhi–are noisier than New York City, so this report isn’t a surprise to me.
But there’s no reason to believe that ears in India are different from ears in the U.S. Traffic noise causes hearing loss and other health problems in the U.S., too.
Perhaps India–and the U.S.–should follow Kathmandu’s successful effort at eradicating traffic noise, because it can be done if the political will exists.
Dr. Daniel Fink is a leading noise activist based in the Los Angeles area. He serves on the board of the American Tinnitus Association, is the interim chair of Quiet Communities’s Health Advisory Council, and 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.