DKV-Report 2018 – Women and people aged 46 and older are exceptionally sensitive to noise; city-dwellers are particularly affected by noise pollution

Media Information, 30.07.2018

Just as tastes differ, so does sensitivity to noise. What is music to one person’s ears can be the ultimate ordeal for another person’s eardrums and nerves. Noise is subjective. However, noise can make you ill.

It is impossible to get used to noise. The DKV-Report reveals that there is a clear connection between noise sensitivity and a person’s subjective feeling of wellbeing. Of the people interviewed who stated that their health was “not good at all”, 38 percent also said that they were exceptionally sensitive to noise. Those most sensitive to noise are women and people above the age of 46.

“From the ticking of a wristwatch to the pounding of a pneumatic hammer, noise not only affects our hearing, it also has an impact on our entire organism”, says Ingo Froböse, professor at the German Sport University Cologne and scientific director of the DKV-Report. “The health implications range from poor sleep and stress symptoms to hearing problems and, at the far end of the scale, even heart attacks.”

Exposure to noise dominates at work

When it comes to actual exposure to noise, people appear to register noise at work more than at home or in their leisure time. Forty-nine percent stated that they were at least moderately irritated by noise at work, while only 41 percent said this was the case in their leisure time. The top three noisemakers at home are mainly traffic, followed by neighbours and children. At work, people tended to be bothered by the sound of machinery, co-workers and the noise of construction work.

The morning rush hour. Blood pressure rises and the countdown to the first meeting of the day is on. Life in a city can be very loud and stressful. This picture is also corroborated by the findings of the DKV-Report: the larger the city in which the respondents lived, the more they tended to feel exposed to noise nuisance at home. People living in cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants suffered from the highest exposure to noise in comparison to the inhabitants of smaller towns. “Our world doesn’t have a volume control, and that’s why it’s important that we consciously create oases of calm in our everyday life”, says Clemens Muth, Chairman of the DKV Board of Management. Seven in ten people interviewed stated that they head to quieter places outside of the city at the weekend.

An overview of the 2018 DKV report:
Scientific Directors Prof. Ingo Froböse Zentrum für Gesundheit durch Sport und Bewegung der Deutschen Sporthochschule, German and Birgit Sperlich (Julius-Maximilians Universität Würzburg). 
CAT1 telephone survey  GfK Nuremberg
Number of participants 2,885
Survey period 2 March to 1 April 2018

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About DKV

For over 90 years, the DKV has been a pioneer in the industry with needs-orientated and innovative products. The health specialist provides comprehensive health and nursing care insurance coverage, as well as health care services to customers in private and state health insurance, and organises high-quality medical care. In 2017, the company recorded a premium income of 4.85 billion euros.
DKV is the health insurance specialist of the ERGO Group and thus part of Munich Re, one of the world's leading reinsurers and risk carriers. More at  


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