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How noise can affect your health


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Personal injury claims for noise-induced hearing loss are becoming increasingly common as modern workplaces become louder. There were a fair quantity of noise-related workplace injuries suffered by employees in the nineteenth century but, even with health and safety regulations governed by the Health and Safety Commission, compensation claims for industrial deafness and the like are common today.

Approximately 170,000 people suffer tinnitus, noise-induced hearing loss and other ear conditions as a result of exposure to excessive noise at work and over the next five years it is anticipated that claims for acoustic shock will become prevalent.

There are around half a million call centre workers in the UK, most spending their days in battery hen style offices. These staff are working against the clock to sell insurance, double glazing and mobile phone contracts and sometimes they don't get the privilege of rest breaks.

This means that call centre workers are on the phone for long periods and the more time that they spend on the phone the more chance they have of being exposed to an excessively loud sound, such as an angry customer screaming down the phone or blowing a whistle to try and get rid of them.

But it isn't just the UK's work environments that are becoming hotbeds for noise-related personal injury compensation claims. A new traffic study has revealed Newcastle as the nosiest urban are in England.

Noisy traffic A report was created by the Ear Institute at the University College London and Widex, a Danish hearing aid manufacturer, by looking at traffic noise in 41 towns and cities across England during the daily rush hours.

During October and November 2006, in each town and city readings were taken in a variety of locations where people are close to traffic.

Average readings revealed that Newcastle was the noisiest city (80.4 decibels) closely followed by Birmingham at 79.1 decibels and London at 78.5 decibels. The quietest of the towns and cities measured was Torquay, giving out a comparatively peaceful 60.2 decibels. Experts have stated that because decibels are a logarithmic index, Newcastle is equivalently 100 times noisier than Torquay.

Surprisingly, some small towns, such as Darlington at 78.3 decibels, were reported as noisier than some of the bigger cities like Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool and Nottingham. This may be because smaller towns have more traffic passing through them.

To put these findings into perspective, a normal conversation, in decibels, is usually around 50-80, a busy street measures at between 78 and 85 and a jet aircraft taking off 25 metres away is roughly 140.

Personal injury claim potential Deepack Prasher of the Ear Institute has commented, "Noise pollution in our towns and cities is a growing problem and can have a serious long-term impact on our health and well-being...and if the noise is loud enough it can lead to permanent hearing impairment and tinnitus."

As well as holding a risk of noise-induced hearing loss, places with particularly loud traffic can have other health implications.

Deepack Prasher added, "Noise not only annoys but also can raise our stress levels and associated hormone levels. It can disturb sleep and increase the risk of heart disease."

According to a German study in the European Heart journal, living or working in a noisy environment could increase the risk of heart attack.

When researchers compared over 2,000 heart attack patients with over 2,000 control patients admitted to trauma and general surgery departments in Berlin between 1998 and 2001, chronic noise exposure was associated with a mildly to moderately increased risk of heart attack.

If you live in Newcastle or one of the other especially loud areas detailed in the traffic noise study you could try heading off somewhere a little more serene. Researchers from Newcastle and Northumbria universities have created a "tranquillity map" of two regions in the east of England, showing local areas that offer peace and quiet such as world heritage site Hadrian's Wall. This may be the best solution to reduce your chances of putting your health at risk and having to contact compensation solicitors to make a personal injury claim.

About the Author

Katy Lassetter, Online personal injury compensation claim specialists, with a 97% claim success rate. Call 0800 197 32 32 or visit for more details.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2007-04-29 12:29:45 in Legal Articles

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