WHO Report on Noise

By Caty Weaver

This is the VOA Special English SCIENCE REPORT.

The world is noisier than ever before. The noise comes from increases in industry, transportation and population. The World Health Organization says noise can be harmful.

The W-H-O says the most common problem caused by noise is hearing loss. This happens mainly in work situations. The W-H-O says some machines and other industrial equipment can create very high sound levels.

The organization says many industrial workers experience very high noise levels during a work day. The W-H-O says this noise can begin to cause hearing loss in just six months. At first, the ear is able to recover hearing during the time away from the noise. However, in time the damage becomes permanent.

Loud work situations can also cause a condition called tinnitus. People with tinnitus hear a continuous ringing in their ears. W-H-O experts say this condition is a warning of more serious hearing problems to come. Temporary tinnitus also can happen to people who attend very loud music events.

The World Health Organization says continuous noise may cause high blood pressure or heart disease. The health organization says research suggests a link between noise and mental health problems. Noise can interfere with sleep. It also may increase aggressive actions. Noise also can affect the performance of skills like reading and solving problems.

The W-H-O says noise is not only a problem in the workplace. It says noise in the community also is increasing. More than half of the people in Europe live in noisy surroundings. The organization says more than thirty percent of them experience noise levels at night that interfere with sleep.

The World Health Organization says there are ways to protect against the dangers of noise pollution. Companies should try to create workspaces that protect workers from noise. The W-H-O says workers should wear coverings to protect their ears.

The W-H-O recently published a report called Guidelines for Community Noise. It lists the possible health effects of noise levels in different situations. The report also offers ideas about legislation to limit noise and ways to enforce such legislation.

This VOA Special English SCIENCE REPORT was written by Caty Weaver.

Voice of America Special English