An eight-year study specifically analysing male fertility suggests that men who are exposed to high levels of noise had a significantly higher chance of being diagnosed as infertile.
The study was conducted between 2006-2013 by researchers from Seoul National University in the Republic of Korea and analysed data from 206 492 men aged 20-59. It calculated the levels of noise exposure the participants to which participants were exposed.
After considering income level, BMI and smoking habits, researchers found that men who were exposed to noise over 55dB at night (Times Live reports that this is a level equivalent to a suburban street or an air conditioner) were more likely to be infertile.
From the initial sample size, 3 293 men had an infertility diagnosis.
The researchers now believe their findings suggest that noise should also be considered when assessing environmental conditions that contribute to male infertility.
Dr Jin-Young Min, the study’s co-author, said: “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. We know noise exposure has an effect on male fertility in animals, but our study is the first to show the risk of exposure to environmental noise on male infertility in humans.
“One of the biggest problems the world is facing today is environmental pollution; my special concern is what Theo Colborn described in her book Our Stolen Future [Plume]: that the rapid decline in men’s sperm counts in the 20th century was due to environmental pollution.
“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.”