New York: Noise from subway trains and damage to hearing

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We all accept that cities are noisy places, but some urban environments are of course far noisier than others. In New York City, the 109-year-old subway transit system is notorious for its screeching trains and resonating tunnels.

As part of National Protect Your Hearing Month, am NewYork headed to a few very busy Manhattan transit hubs like Times Square, and some smaller local stations, to measure noise exposure with an audiologist at New York City Hearing and Balance, Chris Herget. They measured sound ranging from 92 dB to 102 dB when trains came thundering into stations. “Even though trains can enter and leave stations quickly, repeatedly listening to that level of sound from a platform can contribute to hearing issues, like tinnitus, over time,” Herget said. In addition, this type of exposure to loud noise could play a role in a long-term process leading to hearing loss.

In 2009, a comprehensive study on public transit noise was published in the American Journal of Public Health and concluded that a sufficiently long duration of exposure to noise in mass transit can contribute to noise-induced hearing loss in commuters.

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has implemented a number of improvements and overhauls involving train tracks, but also brakes and wheels on subway cars. "In combination, these efforts help create a quieter subway environment than just two decades ago," the MTA said in a statement. This is very important for riders, but it is absolutely crucial for workers who spend long hours in the transit system.

Source: am NewYork