Link suspected between hearing loss and loud cities

Saturday, 04 March, 2017

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There is a link between hearing loss and noise pollution, according to a report published by digital hearing app Mimi.

The study surveyed more than 200,000 people and found that noise pollution in cities and hearing loss had a 64% positive correlation.

Using statistics from the World Health Organisation and the SINTEF report on noise pollution, it is hoped that the data will not only provide a unique insight into the current state of global hearing loss, but will also act as a call to action for individuals and healthcare providers to make better investments concerning aural health.

“While eye and sight checks are routine for most, ear and hearing exams are not. This is an issue as the earlier hearing loss is detected, the better the chances are for preventing further damage,” said Dr Manfred Gross from Charité University Hospital, Berlin.

To conduct the report, data was gathered from the Mimi hearing test app, which allows participants to enter their age and gender, and then test their hearing. The Worldwide Hearing Index presents the average difference between a participant’s true age and their hearing age in each location.

Residents of Vienna, Austria, have the least amount of hearing loss proportionate to their age while citizens of Delhi, India, have the most.

In addition, Zurich, Switzerland, has the least incidence of noise pollution and Guangzhou, China, has the highest.

The Average Hearing Loss Index was found to have a 64% positive correlation with noise pollution levels in each city, indicating hearing loss may be an outcome of living in these cities. The results of the hearing loss index of each city and the noise pollution were mapped to range between 0 and 1. The sum of these two rankings was combined to give an overall Combined Hearing Loss Rank.

“With the Worldwide Hearing Index, we are aiming to create visibility and highlight the importance of good hearing and hearing health,” said Dr Henrik Matthies, managing director of Mimi Hearing Technologies.

“Hearing is one of our most important senses, but has no lobby and little awareness so far. Smartphone technologies nowadays make it easy to take a first step, test your hearing and get informed about one’s hearing health.”

For more information, click here.

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