THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Even as the state government launched a drive against noise pollution with much hype, the woes of those who are vulnerable to noise pollution remain ignored - the traffic police personnel who spend hours amidst the loud horns.
As the routine medical check-ups for cops are limited to physical fitness and air pollution-related ailments, the hazards posed by sound pollution are unnoticed or ignored. An earlier study conducted by the National Institute of Speech and Hearing had even warned that traffic policemen who are posted at the heavy traffic points are at high risk for having hearing loss, especially at high frequencies, and even suggested the use of ear protective devices.
Though regular medical check-ups are conducted for traffic police personnel every six months and special camps on vision and lung infections caused by air pollution are held, hearing tests are seldom carried out. “We have not come across any hearing issues among cops. Moreover, sounding of horn is not that rampant in the city, except for ambulances and escort vehicles of ministers,” a traffic circle inspector said.
However, nearly 50 out of the 81 traffic police personnel in the city examined as part of the NISH’s study suffered hearing problems after joining the profession. More than 40 were having tinnitus (a ringing or similar sensation of sound in the ears).
Continuous duty for more than eight hours and use of wireless sets were key adverse factors cited in the study conducted by Abey K.Alex, a project staff at NISH, as part of his degree in Master of Audiology and Speech-language Pathology.
Noise measurements done at Ulloor, Kesavadasapuram, Sreekaryam, Pattom and Palayam in the state capital also showed that noise levels were much higher than the prescribed standards.