Buying a house is said to be all about location, location, location, but few home buyers consider that the same factor could impact their hearing.
The link between your home address and your hearing health
According to a joint study between Charite University and a hearing technology company, the place you call home could play a vital role in whether or not you have hearing loss1.
Healthy levels of noise should not surpass 55 decibels during the day, and 40 at night, according to the World Health Organisation2.
Researchers found that hearing loss has a 64 per cent positive correlation with the levels of noise pollution in a city. This finding came from data from 200,000 hearing tests from 50 cities around the world, each conducted on Mimi's hearing test app. With this information, researchers found the average level of hearing loss per city, and were able to rank each location in terms of hearing loss and noise pollution.
Director of Mimi Hearing Technologies Henrik Matthies is confident in the value of the study's results.
"The fact that noise pollution and hearing loss have such a tight correlation points to an intricate relationship," he explained to international news agency AFP.
How do Australian cities fare?
Fortunately, Australian cities don't rank amongst the worst locations for noise pollution. The study revealed that the worst places to live in terms of noise were Guangzhou, New Delhi, and Cairo. These cities are regularly named amongst the top 10 worst places for noise pollution, alongside Mumbai, New York, Tokyo, and Shanghai.
Generally speaking, the thing that many of these places have in common is a high population density, but there are other factors involved as well. Ambient noise usually comes from traffic sounds such as engines and horns, as well as music from stores, chatter, and airplanes.
At the other end of the scale, Zurich, Vienna and Oslo were named as the top three places for the lowest levels of noise pollution.
In Australia, major cities fare well-to-average in the rankings, according to the Mimi worldwide hearing index3. Sydney comes in 15th place with a combined hearing rank of 0.71 (Zurich, in first, scored 0.02, and Guangzhou, in last, scored 1.82). Melbourne is in 23rd place out of 50 with 0.81.
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1The Hearing Journal, City Noise Positively Correlates with Hearing Loss, Accessed June, 2017
2WHO, WHO night noise guidelines for Europe, Accessed June, 2017
3Mimi, The Worldwide Hearing Index, Accessed June, 2017