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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Noise on the Tube

If only....

Empty Headed

People with loud music carrying through their headphones is a pet hate of mine and many others. You've probably seen this ad on the Tube with the invisible man, presumably playing music as loudly as he likes as he's wearing noise cancelling earplugs.

But would they work on all Lines on the Tube? When I travelled on the Northern Line or even entering a tunnel on the Piccadilly Line, I would normally turn up the volume and often forget the levels and gradually get used to louder and louder music.

You can usually find an expert to confirm most theories and Professor Prasher head of University College London's Audiology unit found that the squealing on the Victoria Line was such that you needed ear protection:

"I am shocked by the levels that we actually recorded. They were peaking at 118dB which is quite horrendous. The squealing and so on near Stockwell and Pimlico is quite astonishing really. It's the equivalent of a big jack hammer going, or a jet engine taking off in the distance.

"Although the journey times for most people are going to be short, this is a cumulative damage. If you regularly commute and use that line, then you need to seriously think about some form of ear protection."

ipeek by Chutney BannisterLondon Underground thought this was fairly unlikely and their head of occupational health said "Although I would agree that the underground is noisy, and particularly in certain areas, it seems rather unlikely that our customers hearing would be damaged because their journey time is much shorter than our train operators. On the Victoria Line we are aware that there is a problem and we have got a programme planned."

I've had a good search for the programme and it seems to be showing the same levels of invisibility as the bloke in the ad. Perhaps the programme was carried out successfully and the trains are now a lot quieter. Any Victoria Line passengers with any thoughts on this? Or are there other parts of the Tube which are worse offenders?

Perhaps there is other Tube noise you'd like to escape from? I'm not wild about the double whammy stereo effect of in-carriage announcements coinciding with the doors opening to the same platform announcements.


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