Is Noise the New Sugar?

Judy Huch
August 16, 2016

HHTM Staff: We mention at HHTM that Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) is so much a part of the everyday life of Audiologists that we tend to take it for granted, assuming that everyone knows how bad Noise is for your hearing.  This thought has prompted some self evaluation which will produce more posts on Noise which define NIHL and check out recreational examples of high noise.  We also look at how noise is affecting our well being.

Noise seems to have taken on the role of the new Sugar in healthcare, with a few hold-outs (e.g., Sugarland, Texas, see picture above).  The media in the past few years has been focused on Obesity and Type II Diabetes as dietary epidemics, and has been searching out sugar and hidden sugar in every nook and cranny.  We are now seeing the media focused on Effects of Noise Exposure (including hearing loss), searching out and measuring Noise wherever it can be found.

To wit:

We decided to Google “Noise,” “Sugar” and a variety of combinations of those terms to see whether Noise is, in fact, the new Sugar.  The results, shown in the Table 1, surprised us.  Noise alone or paired with Hearing and Health racks up much higher result tallies than Sugar alone or paired with Health or Obesity.  Maybe we should not have been surprised at these results, since a lot of people really like sugar and probably do not want to think about its obnoxious or dangerous characteristics.  The same cannot be said of Noise, which is universal and obnoxious to most (excepting some young people destined for deafness or worse).

Only when we Googled for direct health effects did Sugar beat Noise.  Sugar-Type II Diabetes is a more common search than Noise-Hearing Loss, from which we surmise that Noise affronts most; Sugar bothers only those who’ve discovered they are made ill by it.


Photo courtesy of Daily Motion video

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