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13 October 2006

Underground can harm hearing

Just 30 minutes a day of riding on the New York City subway can cause permanent hearing loss, says a Columbia University study.

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Just 30 minutes a day of riding on the New York City subway can cause permanent hearing loss, says a Columbia University study published in the Journal of Urban Health.

The findings were immediately criticized by the New York City Transit Authority, which called the study "fundamentally flawed due to inadequate research," United Press International reported.

The Columbia researchers found that regular subway noise averaged about 94 decibels to 95 decibels, but reached 106 decibels at some of the subway platforms. By comparison, a lawn mower produces about 107 decibels.

According to US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and World Health Organization guidelines, people should not be subjected to levels of 106 decibels for more than 30 seconds, UPI reported.

"By itself, riding (the subway) long enough could definitely put your hearing at risk," said study lead author Robyn Gershon, a professor at Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health. "Once the damage starts, it passes a threshold and keeps adding and keeps adding, and pushes you over the edge." – (HealthDayNews)

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October 2006

 
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