The effects of a noisy workplace: beyond hearing loss

Prevention

Protection from noise
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A recent study carried out by the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has found that loud noise in the workplace is associated with high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Hearing loss caused by excessive noise in the workplace is a very well documented and recognized occupational hazard. The U.S. Department of Labor, cited by Medical News Today, says that about 22 million workers in the US are exposed to potentially damaging noise at work each year. In addition, workplace noise results in over USD 240 million being spent every year to compensate affected individuals.

But now, new evidence suggests that the health effects related to occupational noise exposure may be far broader. A team of scientists from NIOSH published their findings in mid-March in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.

To carry out the study, the team used data from the National Health Interview Survey from 2014.They looked at prevalence ratios of self-reported hearing difficulty, hypertension, elevated cholesterol, and coronary heart disease or stroke in terms of occupational noise exposure, industry, and occupation. The results showed that working in a noisy environment was associated with higher reported rates not only for hearing loss, but also for hypertension and high cholesterol.

Source: Medical News Today; Kerns E, et al. Cardiovascular conditions, hearing difficulty, and occupational noise exposure within US industries and occupations. American Journal of Industrial Medicine 2018 Mar 14.

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