Last week Dr Amin blogged here that a new analysis published in the journal, Human Reproduction Update, is showing that the sperm counts of men in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand have markedly declined in the past 40 years.
If you or your partner has a marginal sperm count, here is something simple that could make a difference: a quiet bedroom might make for strong, healthy sperm.
South Korean researchers found that men who slept where the noise level routinely exceeded that of a suburban neighborhood had worse fertility than men who rested in quieter quarters. “I think any sort of stressor can contribute to infertility … and I would say bedroom noise can be a chronic stressor in sleep,” said Dr. James Nodler, a reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist at Houston Methodist Hospital.
“It’s basically a protective feature by our bodies — if we’re under severe stress, now is not the time to reproduce,” added Nodler, who wasn’t involved in the new research.
Factors contributing to infertility in either sex are wide-ranging; in men, they include problems with sperm concentration, movement or shape. In the research, scientists from Seoul National University analyzed health insurance data on more than 206,000 men aged 20 to 59. Noise exposure levels were calculated by combining men’s residential location (using postal codes) and information from a national noise information system.
In the eight years covered by the data, about 3,300 of the men had an infertility diagnosis. After adjusting the data for factors such as age, income, smoking and body mass index (BMI), the researchers found men were 14 percent more likely to be diagnosed with infertility if exposed to night-time noise over 55 decibels. That’s equivalent to the noise generated by an air conditioner or a suburban street.
Earlier research found a similar association in women, with noise levels linked to an increased risk for premature birth, miscarriage and birth defects, the study authors noted.
What makes sense is that men concerned about their fertility keep noise levels down in the bedroom. It’s simple and may make a difference.