Environ Sci Technol. 2013 Jun 18;47(12):6393-9. doi: 10.1021/es305161z. Epub 2013 May 29.
The potential burden of noise-induced permanent threshold shift (NIPTS) in U.S. urban settings is not well-characterized. We used ANSI S3.44-1996 to estimate NIPTS for a sample of 4585 individuals from New York City (NYC) and performed a forward stepwise logistic regression analysis to identify predictors of NIPTS >10 dB. The average individual is projected to develop a small NIPTS when averaged across 1000-4000 Hz for 1- to 20-year durations. For some individuals, NIPTS is expected to be substantial (>25 dB). At 4000 Hz, a greater number of individuals are at risk of NIPTS from MP3 players and stereos, but risk for the greatest NIPTS is for those with high occupational and episodic nonoccupational (e.g., power tool use) exposures. Employment sector and time spent listening to MP3 players and stereos and participating in episodic nonoccupational activities associated with excessive noise levels increased the odds of NIPTS >10 dB at 4000 Hz for 20-year durations. Our results indicate that the risk of NIPTS may be substantial for NYC and perhaps other urban settings. Noise exposures from “noisy” occupational and episodic nonoccupational activities and MP3 players and stereos are important risk factors and should be a priority for public health interventions.