As little as two minutes in the New York subway may result in hearing loss. Passengers should replace their headphones with earplugs.
Noise levels in the New York subway are at times significantly above the recommended levels and even dangerous, according to a study, carried out by researchers of Columbia University and the University of Washington.
A peak level of 102.1 dB recorded on a subway platform is about equal to what someone at a rock concert or using a chainsaw might experience. Two minutes of exposure to these levels each day is enough to cause hearing loss in some frequent riders.
The average noise level in the subway was found to be 80.4 decibels. This is significantly higher than the 70 dB, recognized by the World Health Organization, WHO, as the highest recommended average daily noise level.
Passengers frequently exposing themselves to loud noise in other contexts, such as listening to personal stereos, are particularly at risk of suffering hearing loss.
In order to reduce the risk of hearing damage, the researchers recommended frequent transit travelers use ear plugs while riding.
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