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NIOSH study shows noise-related health risk varies by industry, occupation

Occupational noise exposure affects nearly 22 million annually

Posted December 27, 2018

High blood pressure and high cholesterol – key risk factors for heart disease — are more common among workers exposed to loud noise at work, according to a recent study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Data from the 2014 National Health Interview Survey was used to estimate the prevalence of occupational noise exposure, hearing difficulty, and heart conditions within industries and occupations. NIOSH researchers also looked at the association between workplace noise exposure and heart disease.

Among the findings:

  • 25 percent of current workers had a history of work-related noise exposure; 14 percent were exposed in the last year.
  • 12 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 percent), construction (51 percent), and manufacturing (47 percent).
  • Occupations with the highest prevalence of occupational noise exposure were production (55 percent); construction and extraction (54 percent); and installation, maintenance, and repair (54 percent).



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