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Sept 23, 1968


JAMA. 1968;205(13):928. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140390052015

A national noise study is in progress at the Public Health Service's National Center for Urban and Industrial Health in Cincinnati. A recent explosion states:1

It is time for public health workers to recognize noise as a problem, become knowledgeable about its consequences, support legislation that will help alleviate the problem, and promote programs aimed at noise control and prevention.

Medically speaking, it is possible to suggest that this conclusion has limited foundation, and, that socially speaking, it may be quite untrue.

This is not to deny that occupational hearing loss can be quite real.2 Characteristically, workers in noisy planing or paper mills show significant hearing loss at 4,000 to 6,000 cycles per second, less loss at 8,000, but significant loss at still higher ranges. These last probably do not affect the ability to communicate. The intensity of sound at 85 db or below does not provoke hearing