We are surrounded by countless sounds in our normal lives. Some of the most common noises that people are exposed to on a daily basis come from vehicles. Knowing this, Iranian researchers were interested if this put heavy-vehicle drivers at an increased risk for hearing loss.
Noise Pollution from Vehicles
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, noise pollution is defined as “unwanted or disturbing sound.” Sounds are considered unwanted if they interfere with your normal activities or disrupt your quality of life.
Vehicles play a large role in the amount of unwanted noise you are subjected to. Cars emit sounds at an average of 70-80 dB, while buses are louder at 80-95 dB. Most of the noise from the vehicle comes from three sources:
- Power transfer system (air valve, engine, exhaust system, fan air blower and filter)
In addition to causing noise-induced hearing loss, exposure to noise has been found to cause stress-related illnesses, high blood pressure, speech interference, sleep disruption and loss of productivity.
Study of Heavy-Vehicle Drivers
The researchers used data collected from a national survey program from February 2006 to March 2016. Data from a total of 65,533 heavy-vehicle drivers, which includes those who operate trucks and buses within Isfahan province, a high-traffic city in the center of Iran, was used. All participants in this study were male.
Pure tone air and bone conduction audiometry tests were used to assess the participants’ hearing loss. Hearing was broken down into four categories:
- Healthy ears
- Weak hearing loss
- Medium hearing loss
- High hearing loss
The study determined that 26.8% of the heavy-vehicle drivers had some degree of hearing loss; 14.6% of those had hearing loss in both ears, 7.8% had hearing loss in only the left ear and 4.4% had hearing loss in only the right ear.
While previous work history, vehicle type and the quality of the unit’s air conditioning system were not taken into account, these findings do indicate that hearing loss is common among those commonly exposed to noise pollution.
To learn how you can protect your hearing or to schedule an appointment with an audiologist, contact Arizona Hearing Specialists today.