Exposure to unwanted sounds, known as noise pollution, can have a number of negative effects on the human body. While numerous studies have been conducted on how noise pollution from heavy vehicles impacts those living in the community, there is not much information on the impact on the driver. Until now.
What Is Noise Pollution
The Environmental Protection Agency describes noise pollution as exposure to unwanted or disturbing sounds that interfere with your normal activities or disrupt your quality of life. In addition to noise-induced hearing loss, negative effects of noise pollution include:
- Sleep disorders
- Coronary artery disease
- Gastrointestinal ulcers
Published in Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine, this 2019 study looked at 65,533 heavy-vehicle bus and truck drivers from February 2006 to March 2016. The participants drove within Isfahan province, an industrial city with heavy traffic in the center of Iran.
Study participants were over the age of 20 and had no preexisting conditions with an exemption made for musculoskeletal disorders and back pain. All participants were male.
Pure tone air and bone conduction audiometry were used to assess their hearing loss. The results were broken into four groups:
- Healthy hearing
- Weak hearing loss
- Medium hearing loss
- High hearing loss
The results revealed that 26.8% of drivers had hearing loss. 14.6% percent had hearing loss in both ears, 7.8% had hearing loss in only their left ear and 4.4% had hearing loss in just their right ear.
It is important to note that the researchers did not take into consideration the participants’ previous jobs, the specific vehicle they were driving or how well the air conditioning worked within their cab.
The results of this study show the importance of protecting your hearing while at work. Those who drive professionally should consider improving their ventilation system in order to avoid opening the windows, decrease the duration of each driving session and schedule periodic hearing screenings. The best hearing loss results come to those who catch and treat their impairment early. To learn more about protecting your hearing or to schedule an appointment with a professional, contact Hearing Advancement Center today.