Experts say that exposure to traffic noise means a higher risk of tinnitus
In a study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers used data from 3.5 million Danes and found that the more traffic noise Danish residents are exposed to in their homes, the more they are at risk of developing tinnitus. Experts say that exposure to road noise and tinnitus was closely related. However, the study found no association between railway noise and tinnitus.
The study was carried out by researchers from the Department of Clinical Research and the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moeller Institute at the University of Southern Denmark (SDU).
“In our data, we have found more than 40,000 cases of tinnitus and can see that for every ten decibels more noise in people’s homes, the risk of developing tinnitus increases by 6%,” explained Manuella Lech Cantuaria, PhD, assistant professor at the Maersk Mc-Kinney-Moeller Institute, also affiliated to the department of clinical research at SDU.
In 2021, Cantuaria and her colleague Jesper Hvass Schmidt, Associate Professor at the department of clinical research and chief physician at Odense University Hospital (OUH), also found a correlation between traffic noise and dementia.
In the study, higher associations were found when noise was measured at the quiet side of their houses—the side facing away from the road. According to the researchers, this is where most people would place their bedroom whenever possible, therefore, the researchers believe this is a better indicator of noise during sleep.
The nationwide cohort study included all residents in Denmark aged 30 and older—40,692 were diagnosed with tinnitus. The study modeled road traffic and railway noise at the most exposed façades of all Danish addresses from 1990 until 2017. For all participants, the study calculated time-weighted mean noise exposure.
To view the full study, visit the Environmental Health Perspectives website.
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