A recent study shows that high noise levels from traffic and other causes may impact male fertility. Photo by Justin Lane/EPA
June 28 (UPI) -- Researchers from Seoul National University in the South Korea suggests male infertility may be connected to long-term noisy sleeping environments.
The study found that exposure to noise levels above the World Health Organization's night noise level of 55 dB, which is equal to suburban street noise, is linked to a significant increase in infertility.
High noise levels have been linked to heart disease, mental illness, changes in social behavior and interference with complex task performance. The new study analyzes the impact noise has on male infertility.
"Infertility is becoming a significant public health issue because of unexpected adverse effects on the health and quality of life and heavy expenditures on the health system," Jin-Young Min, the study's co-author, said in a press release. "We know noise exposure has an effect on male fertility in animals, but our study is the first to show the risk of exposure to environmental noise on male infertility in humans."
Researchers analyzed data from a health insurance database of 206,492 men age 20 to 59 and calculated the levels of noise exposure using the National Noise Information System from 2006 to 2013. Over the study period, there were 3,293 infertility diagnoses in the male participants.
The study showed that the odds of being diagnosed with infertility were significantly higher in men who were exposed to noise levels over 55 dB at night.
"One of the biggest problems the world is facing today is environmental pollution; my special concern is what Theo Colborn described in her book Our Stolen Future: that the rapid decline in men's sperm counts in the 20th century was due to environmental pollution," Min said. "If this trend continues, humans in the future will not be able to have normal pregnancy and childbirth. If you are a man and suffer from infertility, you need to consider exposure to environmental pollution as a risk factor."
The study was published in the July edition of Environmental Pollution.