SEOUL: Is your bedroom next to a noisy street? Beware, according to a study, long-term exposure to a noisy environment, particularly at night may be associated with infertility in men.
The researchers found that regular exposure to night noise level above or equal to 55 decibel (dB) -- equivalent to the noise of a suburban street -- can significantly increase 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," said Jin-Young Min from the Seoul National University.
"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," Min added.
Previous research that focused on fertility in women has also shown a link between exposure to noise and birth-related problems, such as premature birth, spontaneous abortion and congenital malformations.
Noise is linked to other health problems, such as heart disease and mental illness.
For the study, detailed in the journal Environmental Pollution, the team analysed 206,492 men aged 20-59.
They calculated the levels of noise exposure using information from the National Noise Information System combined with the men's postal codes. In the eight years covered by the study (2006-2013), 3,293 had an infertility diagnosis.
After adjusting the data for variables like age, income, BMI and smoking, they found the chances of being diagnosed infertile were significantly higher in men exposed to noise over 55 dB at night.