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Noise pollution


Recently dubbed the ‘creative capital’ by The Guardian, Brighton’s reputation for music, culture, art and fun is certainly growing. The city’s thriving music scene has a reputation for cultivating some legendary talent including hip-hop duo Rizzle Kicks as well as band the Kooks, DJ Fatboy Slim, and rock favourites British Sea Power. Many people don’t know that even the Sony executive and talent show mastermind, Simon Cowell, was originally from Brighton.


Fast becoming acknowledged as the place to discover the next big thing in music and dance, Brighton is a great place to head for, especially in May when the city is in the grip of festival season. Indeed, Brighton attracts almost eight million visitors a year. But is all this high octane, high volume fun damaging our ears? Many party-goers are now turning to companies like Hidden Hearing, or specialist help and hearing aids to treat hearing loss.

The World Health Organisation has claimed that the single biggest cause of preventable hearing loss is loud noise, and now the Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Unit and Medical Research Council (MRC) have launched a study into the links between loud music and loss of hearing.

The new study will involve a mass participation survey and members of the public are being urged to help researchers understand whether the things we listen to throughout our lives have an impact on our present hearing. Carried out largely online, the study is based on the idea that damage to hearing is irreversible, and hearing loss is not something that only older people should concern themselves with. Nightclubs and music concerts regularly breach safe noise levels and many music and gig lovers may suffer the effects of this.

Current figures estimate that one in six UK adults experience some hearing loss that is significant enough to cause difficulty when trying to communicate. This represents a 12 percent rise over the last 20 years. By 2031 it is predicted that 14.5 million Brits will have some form of hearing loss. The Journal of Audiology reports that when someone is experiencing even relatively minor hearing loss, the presence of background noise like other people having a conversation or music playing, aggravates the impairment making it hard for the person to follow audio cues.

Dr Michael Akeroyd, from the MRC Institute of Hearing Research, is leading the new research project. He believes that up until now, most studies of music-related hearing loss have focussed only on the musicians. Coldplay front man Chris Martin openly talks about his tinnitus and hearing problems caused as a direct result of his profession. Dr Akeryod says that it’s now time to look at the relatively unknown matter of the effects of loud-music listening on the hearing of the general public. The way we listen to music has changed dramatically over the last one-hundred years and experts hope that this is an opportunity to understand what impact that is having.

To take part in the survey visit: www.100yearsofamplifiedmusic.org


Spanish professional pianist Laia Martin is on trial in Girona after her family’s downstairs neighbor, Sonia Bosom, accused her of causing psychological harm.

Prosecutors are seeking a 20-month prison sentence for Laia Martin whose former neighbor is suing over alleged noise pollution.

They are also demanding that the 27-year-old be banned from professional piano playing for six months.

A verdict is expected within two weeks.

Prosecutors are seeking a 20-month prison sentence for Laia Martin whose former neighbor is suing over alleged noise pollution

Prosecutors are seeking a 20-month prison sentence for Laia Martin whose former neighbor is suing over alleged noise pollution

Laia Martin’s parents are also being sued and face a fine if found guilty.

Sonia Bosom alleges that the pianist – a conservatoire student at the time – practiced her piano for eight hours, five days a week from 2003-2007.

The alleged victim said she now has such a horror of pianos, she cannot stand even seeing them in films, reports say.

Sonia Bosom’s lawyer said she had endured “four years of suffering,” the Associated Press news agency reports.

In their defense, the Martin family said they had tried to soundproof the room, and that the practice had not been as constant as claimed.

The public prosecutor had initially sought a jail term of over seven years for Laia Martin.


According to a new research, the risks of stroke, heart and circulatory disease are higher in areas with a lot of aircraft noise.

The new study of 3.6 million residents near Heathrow Airport suggested the risks were 10-20% higher in areas with the highest levels of aircraft noise.

The team’s findings are published in the British Medical Journal.

The researchers agreed with other experts that noise was not necessarily to blame and more work was needed.

The risks of stroke, heart and circulatory disease are higher in areas with a lot of aircraft noise

The risks of stroke, heart and circulatory disease are higher in areas with a lot of aircraft noise

Their work suggests a higher risk for both hospital admissions and deaths from stroke, heart and circulatory disease for the 2% of the study – about 70,000 people – who lived where the aircraft noise was loudest.

The lead author, Dr. Anna Hansell, from Imperial College London, said: “The exact role that noise exposure may play in ill health is not well established.

“However, it is plausible that it might be contributing – for example, by raising blood pressure or by disturbing people’s sleep.”

“There’s a <<startle reaction>> to loud noise – if you’re suddenly exposed to it, the heart rate and blood pressure increase.

“And aircraft noise can be annoying for some people, which can also affect their blood pressure, leading to illness.

“The relative importance of daytime and night-time noise from aircraft also needs to be investigated further.”

The study used data about noise levels in 2001 from the Civil Aviation Authority, covering 12 London boroughs and nine districts outside of London where aircraft noise exceeds 50 decibels – about the volume of a normal conversation in a quiet room.

The authors say fewer people are now affected by the highest levels of noise (above 63 decibels) – despite more planes being in the skies – because of changes in aircraft design and flight plans.

The researchers – from Imperial and also King’s College London – adjusted their work in an effort to eliminate other factors that might have a relationship with stroke and heart disease, such as deprivation, South Asian ethnicity and smoking-related illness.

They stressed that the higher risk of illness related to aircraft noise remained much less significant than the risks from lifestyle factors – including smoking, a lack of exercise or poor diet.