BY CALUM FRASER
Noise levels in some South London Tube stations are louder than rock concerts, it has been revealed
Analysis conducted by University College London professor Dr Joe Sollini found that noise levels on some underground trains are causing severe hearing damage.
The North Greenwich to Canary Wharf Jubilee line trains and the Vauxhall to Stockwell Victoria line trains came in with the highest peak readings – at 108 and 107 decibels respectively.
Dr Sollini, who lives in Clapham, said: “That is the equivalent of going to a rock concert.
“People don’t appreciate that this level of noise can have a big knock-on effect later in life.
“One short journey on the Tube can take up your whole daily allowance of noise exposure.
“According to World Health Organisation guidelines, a 20-minute journey every day on the Victoria line at its peak noise would be sufficient to increase hearing loss.”
WHO guidelines say that the safe limit for daily noise exposure is 85 decibels for eight hours.
An increase of just three decibels halves the safe limit. At 88 decibels the safe exposure time drops to four hours and at 100 decibels, it drops to just 15 minutes.
Dr Sollini said: “There is no law to protect commuters.
“The trains could be as loud as they want it to be. But there are laws to protect workers.
“Eighty-five decibels refers to the upper limit legally where workers must be provided with information about how this could be damaging and ear protection.
“Commuters do not have this protection.”
Robert Armstrong, chief audiologist at Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, said: “Excessive noise over time can cause temporary or even permanent hearing loss and tinnitus in some people.
“There is a further risk to hearing when people listen to music through headphones while travelling on the Tube as they are likely to turn up the volume so that they can hear over the noise.”
If you are experiencing hearing issues, Mr Armstrong advises you to go to your GP who can forward you onto a specialist if necessary.
Nigel Holness, London Underground’s network operations director, said: “We are committed to doing everything we can to make sure that the Tube is a safe environment for our staff and our customers.
“We monitor noise levels on the Tube and ensure that they are below those set by the Health & Safety Executive. We use noise mitigation measures like grinding or replacing rails in order to ensure a smoother journey and are investigating other innovative solutions to further reduce noise.
“While customers travelling on our network can experience noise, higher volumes tend to be for short periods of time and Health & Safety Executive guidance on noise suggests it is highly unlikely to cause any long-term damage to customers’ hearing.”
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