Innovation & Technology

Can city-living lead to hearing loss?

Hearing loss affects 1 in 6 Australians, and on a more global scale, over 360 million people are known to live with some form of hearing loss1.

Some of the most common causes of hearing loss are age, exposure to loud noises and injury. But what if there was another factor contributing to the condition?

A recent study has found surprising evidence indicating that city-living could in fact be increasing the risk of hearing loss.

Where does your city rank?

When we hear the word pollution, the first thing that may come to mind is that of smoke, fumes and dirty air. However, a common type of pollution is noise, yet many people don't think of the damage that it can actually cause. Examples of contributing factors to noise pollution include industrialisation, transportation, construction and social events.

Mimi, a hearing technology association, developed the world hearing index to discover the cognitive abilities of  residents of different cities from around the world. Using their widely popular hearing app, Mimi were able to analyse data from over 200,000 users living in 50 different cities, after each participant gave a report on their age, sex and location.

The information collected was used to assign each city a ranking in hearing loss and noise pollution to then be combined and placed in the hearing loss index. Each individual's actual age was compared to that of their hearing age which was created from their Mimi hearing test data2.

Some of the results gleaned were shocking. The noisiest cities in the index were found to be Guangzhou in China, Delhi in India, Cairo in Egypt and Mumbai in India. Taking Guangzhou for example, the average hearing loss was shown to be 17.43, translating to each individual having a hearing age of someone 17 years older than themselves.

Even the quietest cities such as Zurich in Switzerland, Vienna in Austria and Oslo in Norway also showed that hearing was affected.

Where does your city rank in the world hearing index?Where does your city rank in the world hearing index?

What can be done to protect our hearing?

Sydney was ranked at number 15 with a score of 14.13 and Melbourne at position 23 scoring 15.04. With two of Australia's biggest cities making the list as cities that are affected by noise pollution, it is wise to receive a hearing test to find out where your own cognitive abilities are at. If yourself or a loved one is worried about hearing, call the team at Adelaide Digital Hearing Solutions on 1800 940 982 or click here to book your *free hearing test.

1World Health Organisation, Deafness and hearing loss. Accessed July 2017
2Mimi, World Hearing Loss: City Ranking. Accessed July 2017

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