As noise exceeds limit in Chennai, experts warn of hearing loss

As part of the week’s drive against honking, in 281 cases, air horns were removed by traffic police from vehicles and 572 cases booked during the drive.
Representative Image
Representative Image

CHENNAI: In a decibel level survey conducted across Chennai by the city police in association with Young Indians, an NGO, the average decibel rate is recorded to be 84.5, much more than the average rate prescribed by the World Health Organisation.

It should not come as a surprise for motorists as honking is the least of the traffic violation on our city roads. WHO suggests that healthy noise levels should not surpass 55 decibels during the day and 40 decibels at night.

In an official statement, the Chennai police said that the most common source of noise pollution is honking. There are also long-time health hazards such as hearing loss and other health issues like aggression, hypertension, high stress, sleep disturbances among others.

Representative Image
Chennai police’s week-long no honking campaign ends

“The noise levels below 80 db is considered safe. It is important that the duration of the noise exposure is not long. The duration of exposure is important as more than 80 db of noise for more than 4 hours per day will lead to noise induced hearing loss,” said Dr S Muthuchitra, consultant ENT specialist at Kilpauk Medical College Hospital (KMCH).

Traffic cops, cab drivers, delivery agents and others who are constantly on the roads are at great risk of health hazards due to honking.

It is to address this issue that the city police initiated a no honking awareness campaign. Police said that the campaign is not policing per se, and its aim is to inculcate awareness to drivers on the consequences of continuous and unnecessary honking.

City police commissioner, Shankar Jiwal, while inaugurating the ‘No honking’ awareness campaign last week had said that enforcement against honking will also begin after the city police procures the noise meters prescribed by the pollution control board to assess the allowed and appropriate decibel levels near hospitals, schools and other places.

As part of the week’s drive against honking, in 281 cases, air horns were removed by traffic police from vehicles and 572 cases booked during the drive.

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