Noise as a public health problem

Photo credit: Neil R licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

What’s the difference between a health problem and a public health problem?

A health problem affects an individual, a patient. A public health problem affects populations, in communities.

This editorial by me and Quiet Communities president, Jamie Banks, PhD, MSc, draws attention to the American Public Health Association’s updated policy statement on noise.  Dr. Banks chairs the APHA Noise and Health Committee, on which I serve, and led the team in writing the new policy.  It took months of work to research the science on noise and health, assess the current status of noise legislation and regulations in the United States, and develop federal, state, and local policy recommendations and several more months to go through the process of review and adoption by APHA. The editorial was written to engage hearing health professionals in educating and raising awareness about noise and its harmful effects, not only on hearing but also non-hearing health.

We hope this article will help hearing health professionals understand that the dangers of noise extend far beyond hearing loss in their patients.

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