Researchers have found a new cause for increase in male infertility – prolonged exposure to noisy streets and noise of air conditioner at home.
The research that concluded noise as one of the factors behind increase in male infertility was carried out by scientists at Seoul National University in the Republic of Korea who say that it is important to consider noise when assessing environmental conditions that contribute to infertility.
They found that exposure above the WHO night noise level (55 dB – equivalent to the noise of a suburban street) is linked to a significant increase in infertility.
Noise has been linked to health problems, such as heart disease and mental illness, and has been shown to change social behaviour and interfere with the performance of complex tasks.
Previous research focused on fertility in women has shown a link between exposure to noise and birth-related problems, such as premature birth, spontaneous abortion and congenital malformations.
The new study reveals that long-term exposure to relatively low levels of noise, particularly at night, may contribute to the development of infertility in men.
“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,” said Jin-Young Min, from Seoul National University.
“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,” said Min.
Worldwide infertility problems affect one in six couples at least once in their lifetime, either temporarily or permanently.