Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2012;38(1):19-26    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.3200

Occupational noise exposure, social class, and risk of ischemic heart disease and all-cause mortality – a 16-year follow-up in the Copenhagen Male Study

by Suadicani P, Hein HO, Gyntelberg F

Objective Long-term exposure to occupational noise may be associated with an increased risk of ischemic heart disease (IHD) and all-cause mortality. However, the issue remains unsettled. Only a small number of longitudinal studies have been carried out, and control for potential confounders including a strong correlate of noise exposure namely social class may have been insufficient.

Methods We carried out a 16-year follow-up of 2998 men aged 53–75 years without overt cardiovascular disease.

Result Overall, 197 men (6.6%) died due to IHD and 1192 (39.8%) from all-causes. Of the 2998 men, 1008 (33.6%) reported exposure to occupational noise for ≥5 years [mean 25.4, standard deviation (SD) 12.5 years]; among these men, 47.3% reported hearing impairment versus only 24.8% among unexposed men (63.0%). Referencing unexposed men, the hazard ratio (HR) for IHD mortality was 0.97 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.71–1.33], and the HR for all-cause mortality was 1.01 (95% CI 0.89–1.15) when adjusting for potential confounders: age, hearing impairment, blood pressure, diabetes, fasting serum triglycerides and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, glucosuria, cancer, body mass index, alcohol, tobacco, leisure-time physical activity, and social class. Stratified analyses of high and low social classes confirmed the overall results.

Conclusion Cumulative occupational exposure to noise was strongly associated with hearing impairment, but not with death from either IHD or all-cause mortality in a long-term follow-up adjusting for established cardiovascular risk factors including low social class.

This article refers to the following text of the Journal: 2005;31(4):291-299
The following articles refer to this text: 2012;38(1):1-3; 2013;39(1):106-111