Noise ‘Plague’ Impacting Hearing Badly- Dr. Vardhan

Noise ‘Plague’ Impacting Hearing Badly- Dr. Vardhan

New Delhi, 20 September: Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan today said that noise pollution, the modern plague, is impacting hearing badly. Even youngsters are coming to ENT specialists for treatment of hearing impairment. He declared that health ministry

will propel anti noise pollution initiatives. Noise pollution has been found to cause headaches, heart ailments, stress related disorders, hypertension, psychological disorders etal.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan was addressing over 700 ENT specialists at Perinthalmana in north Kerala while inaugurating 13th annual conference of the Association of Otolaryngologists of India (AOI), Kerala branch.

Dr. Vardhan described noise pollution as ‘modern plague’ while lauding Kerala chapter of AOI for being at the forefront of the National Initiative for Safe Sound (NISS). Dr Harsh Vardhan remarked that the ill effects of chronic exposure to noise are not visible until at an

advanced stage.

WHO has come out with the finding that noise pollution can cause headaches, heart ailments, stress related disorders, hypertension and psychological disorders, he informed. Hearing loss is the primary health effect, but the systemic and psychological effects are long-term and

can lead to permanent scars.

Dr Harsh Vardhan stressed the need for enforcing statutory standards prescribed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and directives issues by the Supreme Court to prevent noise pollution. Globally, noise has emerged as the single biggest cause of disability in the workplace. ‘It is a welcome development to see ear-nose-throat (ENT) specialists like myself ending the “silence” over noise pollution. The high level of awareness among people in the state on the issue is due in the most part to the awareness campaigns undertaken over several years by AOI,’ he remarked.

Dr Harsh Vardhan announced that he is in the process of constituting a high-level expert group to recommend standards of acceptability of environmental sound levels.

The Ministry would make them the basis of a new legislation, he stated. The only instrument with law enforcers at present, the Noise Pollution (Regulation & Control) Rules, 2000, developed by CPCB is supposed to be enforced by local police units all over India. But there is little public awareness about them, the Health Minister noted.

As Delhi’s Health Minister in the early 1990s he had formed the first expert panel on noise pollution which was headed by Dr Santosh Kackar, an ENT specialist who was then professor and head of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology of All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

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