Riders of mass transit are exposed to noise at levels that may exceed recommended limits, and thus may experience noise-induced hearing loss given sufficient exposure duration times, reports a new study in the American Journal of Public Health.

Researchers evaluated the noise levels of a representation of New York City mass transit systems (subways, buses, ferries, tramways, and commuter railways) during June and July 2007. Subway cars and platforms had the highest associated equivalent continuous average and maximum noise levels, but all systems showed some potential for noise exposure, according to the publication.

The study’s authors suggest, “Engineering noise-control efforts, including increased transit infrastructure maintenance and the use of quieter equipment, should be given priority over use of hearing protection, which requires rider motivation and knowledge of how and when to wear it.”

[From: “Noise Levels Associated with New York City’s Mass Transit Systems.” Contact: Richard Neitzel, MS, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington, [email protected]]. 

[Source: American Journal of Public Health]