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December 9, 1968

Noise Pollution

Author Affiliations

Chief, National Noise Study Cincinnati

JAMA. 1968;206(11):2523. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03150110071019

To the Editor:—  Your editorial (205: 928, 1968) entitled, "Noise Pollution," was particularly amusing.Studies of noise and hearing in industry attest to the reality of occupational hearing loss as do worker compensation claims for hearing disability.1,2 As mentioned in your editorial, significant losses in hearing caused by industrial noise are primarily in the 4,000 to 6,000 cycle per second frequency range which is considered inconsequential to speech perception. However, with increasing years of exposure, these losses do broaden to other frequencies that are necessary for hearing speech and therein pose communication problems. You are quite correct in stating that a noise must be at least 85 decibels in intensity in order to provoke hearing loss. You should have noted further that noise surveys show one out of every two machines in heavy industry to produce levels in excess of 85 decibels.3 This would suggest that a large