New Interactive Map Shows the Noisiest Places in the United States

Plus, what all that commotion means for your health.

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Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) released its first-ever interactive map showing the noisiest places in the United States. And honestly, it's pretty eye-opening (err... ear-opening?).

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To make the map, USDOT collected data on road and air noise from the Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Highway Administration. To no one's surprise, the department found that many of the country's major cities and surrounding metropolitan areas are pretty noisy.

What was surprising, though, is just how much noise is being generated by the constant traffic in big cities.

The USDOT reports that major metropolitan areas experience noise levels up to 95 decibels, which is the equivalent of a running garbage disposal or electric handsaw, according to the Center for Hearing and Communication. In contrast, quieter areas of the country, such as the Midwest, only experience sound levels of about 35 to 40 decibels. And this map doesn't even include data on noise produced by trains, residential roads, or construction!

Science of Us created the video above explaining the breakdown in some of the noisiest places. In cities like San Francisco and Houston, for example, the air traffic headed in and out of the city's major airports is to blame. In Memphis, on the other hand, the trucking industry is the primary source of sound. Then there's New York City, where, well... more people = more noise, right?

Constant exposure to this kind of noise can be detrimental to our health, resulting in issues such as chronic sleep problems and hearing impairment, Science of Us reports. But if you're not ready to relocate to a more rural area just yet, it's probably worth investing in earplugs and a white (or pink!) noise generator to get you through the night.

[h/t Science of Us]

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