Shh, living near busy road may up risk of male infertility
Beware if you are renting an apartment next to a busy road as a study finds that long-term exposure to traffic noise, particularly at night, increases the risk of infertility in men.
The findings revealed that exposure above the World Health Organisation (WHO) night noise level (55 dB – equivalent to the noise of a suburban street) is linked to a significant increase in infertility.
Scientists from Seoul National University in the Republic of Korea said that it is important to consider noise when assessing environmental conditions that contribute to infertility.
Noise can be annoying – it breaks your concentration and disrupts your sleep. But noise has also been linked to health problems, such as heart disease and mental illness, and has been shown to change social behaviour and interfere with the performance of complex tasks.
Study’s co-author Dr. Jin-Young Min said that infertility is becoming a significant public health issue because of unexpected adverse effects on the health and quality of life and heavy expenditures on the health system.
This may be down to a variety of causes, such as genetic abnormalities, infectious disease, environmental agents or certain behaviors.
Dr. Min wanted to find out whether environmental exposure to noise, for example at work, has an impact on male infertility.
The team analysed 2,06,492 men aged 20-59 from 2006-2013.
The results revealed that in eight years, 3,293 had an infertility diagnosis.
After adjusting the data for variables like age, income, BMI and smoking, they found the chances of being diagnosed infertile were significantly higher in men exposed to noise over 55 dB at night (about as noisy as a suburban street or an air conditioner).
“Rapid decline in men’s sperm counts in the 20th century was due to environmental pollution,” commented Dr. Min.
“If this trend continues, humans in the future will not be able to have normal pregnancy and childbirth. If you are a man and suffer from infertility, you need to consider exposure to environmental pollution as a risk factor,” Dr. Min explained.
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