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Workplace Noise Exposure Affects Cardiovascular Risk Factors

High BP, elevated cholesterol, hearing problems more common among workers exposed to loud noise

factory worker

THURSDAY, April 12, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Hypertension, elevated cholesterol, and hearing difficulty are more prevalent among noise-exposed workers, according to a study published online March 14 in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.

Ellen Kerns, M.P.H., from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in Cincinnati, and colleagues used data from the 2014 National Health Interview Survey in order to estimate the prevalence of occupational noise exposure, hearing difficulty, and cardiovascular conditions, as well as to examine any associations between them, within U.S. industries and occupations.

The researchers found that 25 percent of current workers had a history of occupational noise exposure (with 14 percent exposed in the last year), 12 percent had hearing difficulty, 24 percent had hypertension, and 28 percent had elevated cholesterol. Of these, 58 percent of hearing difficulty, 14 percent of hypertension, and 9 percent of elevated cholesterol could be attributed to occupational noise exposure.

"Reducing workplace noise and improving strategies for protecting noise-exposed workers is critical for prevention," the authors write.

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