The TTC has been levelled with complaints recently from frustrated Torontonians living near outdoor subway tracks. They say that the trains omit a high pitch screeching noise that's so loud that they can hear it from inside their homes. Dr. Vincent Lin, an otolaryngologist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, explained to Global News that long-term exposure to the train’s high-pitched noise could cause permanent hearing damage.
“This is very kind of high-level, high-frequency sound … so chronic exposure to this type of noise would definitely put someone at risk for developing noise-induced hearing loss,” Lin explained about the noise during an interview with Global News.
This isn’t the first time residents are being warned about the harmful effects of the noise. Back in 2017, a study was published in the Otolaryngology Journal which first outlined the issue. The study explained that although the TTC is well within its limits for acceptable noise levels, constant exposure to the high-pitched sounds omitted by its trains could cause those exposed to experience noise-induced hearing loss.
Tamar Fernades, a woman whose west-end apartment is near the screeching subway trains, has taken matters into her own hands. Fernades posts a constant stream of updates about the issue via her personal Twitter account:
Noise warning.Despite @NWestoll @globalnewsto report about noise harming health this is what I came home to. #TTC org/mgmnt has deep problems. Toronto city officials @JohnTory @JayeRobinson @epdevilla need to take heads out of sand. pic.twitter.com/bpfgwhtCJv
11:30pm and still screeching trains. People and businesses fined for excessive noise after 11pm, but #TTC does what it wants no matter the harm. No one holding them accountable. Not @311, not @TOPublicHealth, not @JayeRobinson and not @JohnTory pic.twitter.com/sO1cqiR51R
In addition to harming health as stated by in @NWestoll report, #TTC trains scraping metal on metal damaging tracks and wheels which will cost #Toronto taxpayers. Did fares just get raised to cover incompetence? @m_layton @JohnTory @JayeRobinson pic.twitter.com/rybMt7PJTA
“It disrupts your life. You can’t sleep. You can’t invite people over and have conversations. I have had people to dinner, and every few minutes it’s like, ‘What’s going on?’ And then I feel bad because I’ve learned about the health impacts of excessive noise and I don’t want to have people exposed to that noise,” Fernandes detailed to Global News in a recent interview.
The TTC had initially planned to resolve the issue, announcing back in November of 2018 that it would be making the necessary changes. The transit service aimed to replace several rail-greasing machines to help reduce the noise created by the friction between the wheels and the tracks.
According to Global News, officials had initially hoped to have the machines replaced by January, a deadline that was not met. The TTC is now claiming that the new devices will be operational in the next few weeks, but it is at this moment unclear when the machines will actually be replaced.
Warning - screeching trains continue. @JohnTory @JayeRobinson @epdevilla @TOPublicHealth too busy celebrating #TO185 to see harm to #TTC riders and #Toronto residents. People still not a priority. @blogTO @NoiseToronto pic.twitter.com/Pfe0kyEAmH
“Unfortunately, we did give the community some assurances these would be installed by January; we haven’t been able to meet that commitment. There were some issues with supply on the side of the contractor. We did work through that,” TTC spokesperson Stuart Green explained to Global News in an official statement on the matter.