There are many things that contribute to male infertility, but strange as it may ‘sound’, noise pollution could be one of them. It doesn’t necessarily need to be loud constant noises, but it can in fact be low level sound above 55 decibels that could negatively affect male fertility. Sounds as low as the motor of a refrigerator or air conditioning unit could produce enough low level sound to negatively affect health, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The WHO warns that next to air pollution, it is noise pollution that poises the fastest growing hazard to human health. Noise pollution is linked to such illnesses as sleep disturbances, heart attacks, strokes, and tinnitus. In fact, low levels of noise pollution even affects women and has been associated with increases in miscarriages and premature birth rates. However, it is in a recent study that is published in the journal Environmental Pollution that reveals noise pollution negatively affects male fertility.
The study involved information from over 200,000 men from South Korea, and it found that exposure to low level noise of greater than 55 decibels, for over four years, mostly during night-time, was linked to problems with fertility. Researchers used postal codes of the men and factored in the noise quality around where they lived, and then measured the quality of their semen samples. Results showed that there was an increase in infertility for every 10 decibels of noise rising above 55 decibels.
Other contributing factors included the men’s medical history, drinking and smoking habits, weight, and blood sugar levels. The results of the research supports similar studies that linked listening to constant noise can result in stress, and disrupt the normal function of sex hormones. When noise becomes irritating, Cortisol is released which lowers the testosterone level in men, and that affects the amount of sperm and sperm mobility.
Because all levels of constant noise can cause stress, researchers could not rule out other factors that could cause infertility in men, however, the study did link long-term exposure to noise of more than 55 decibels to stress, and the rise of blood pressure that does negatively affect male fertility.