NIOSH Study Shows Association Between Noise Exposure and Heart Disease Risk Factors

"Reducing workplace noise levels is critical not just for hearing loss prevention – it may also impact blood pressure and cholesterol," said NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard, M.D. "Work site health and wellness programs that include screenings for high blood pressure and cholesterol should also target noise-exposed workers."

High cholesterol and high blood pressure are more common among workers exposed to loud noise at work, according to a NIOSH study recently published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. Researchers found that a quarter of U.S. workers reported a history of noise exposure at work.

NIOSH researchers analyzed data from the 2014 National Health Interview Survey to estimate the prevalence of occupational noise exposure, hearing difficulty, and heart conditions within U.S. industries and occupations. The researchers also examined the association between workplace noise exposure and heart disease.

Loud noise is one of the most common U.S. workplace hazards and affects about 22 million workers each year. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, and high blood pressure and high LDL cholesterol are both key risk factors.

"Reducing workplace noise levels is critical not just for hearing loss prevention – it may also impact blood pressure and cholesterol," said NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard, M.D. "Work site health and wellness programs that include screenings for high blood pressure and cholesterol should also target noise-exposed workers."

The analysis by NIOSH researchers showed the following:

  • Twenty-five percent of current workers had a history of work-related noise exposure; 14 percent were exposed in the last year.
  • Twelve percent of current workers had hearing difficulty, 24 percent had high blood pressure, and 28 percent had high cholesterol. Of these cases, 58 percent, 14 percent, and 9 percent, respectively, can be attributed to occupational noise exposure.
  • Industries with the highest prevalence of occupational noise exposure were mining (61%), construction (51%), and manufacturing (47%).
  • Occupations with the highest prevalence of occupational noise exposure were production (55%); construction and extraction (54%); and installation, maintenance, and repair (54%).

"This study provides further evidence of an association of occupational noise exposure with high blood pressure and high cholesterol and the potential to prevent these conditions if noise is reduced," said study co-author Liz Masterson, Ph.D. "It is important that workers be screened regularly for these conditions in the workplace or through a health care provider so interventions can occur. As these conditions are more common among noise-exposed workers, they could especially benefit from these screenings."

Download Center

  • OSHA Recordkeeping Guide

    In case you missed it, OSHA recently initiated an enforcement program to identify employers who fail to electronically submit Form 300A recordkeeping data to the agency. When it comes to OSHA recordkeeping, there are always questions regarding the requirements and ins and outs. This guide is here to help! We’ll explain reporting, recording, and online reporting requirements in detail.

  • Incident Investigations Guide

    If your organization has experienced an incident resulting in a fatality, injury, illness, environmental exposure, property damage, or even a quality issue, it’s important to perform an incident investigation to determine how this happened and learn what you can do to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps of performing an incident investigation.

  • Lone Worker Guide

    Lone workers exist in every industry and include individuals such as contractors, self-employed people, and those who work off-site or outside normal hours. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies, inadequate rest and breaks, physical violence, and more. To learn more about lone worker risks and solutions, download this informative guide.

  • Job Hazard Analysis Guide

    This guide includes details on how to conduct a thorough Job Hazard Analysis, and it's based directly on an OSHA publication for conducting JHAs. Download the guide to learn how to identify potential hazards associated with each task of a job and set controls to mitigate hazard risks.

  • The Basics of Incident Investigations Webinar

    Without a proper incident investigation, it becomes difficult to take preventative measures and implement corrective actions. Watch this on-demand webinar for a step-by-step process of a basic incident investigation, how to document your incident investigation findings and analyze incident data, and more. 

  • Vector Solutions

Featured Whitepaper

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - November December 2022

    November December 2022

    Featuring:

    • IH: GAS DETECTION
      The Evolution of Gas Detection
    • OSHA TOP 10
      OSHA's Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards for FY 2022
    • FALL PROTECTION
      Enhance Your Fall Protection Program with Technology
    • 90TH ANNIVERSARY
      The Future: How Safety WIll Continue to Evolve
    View This Issue