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Am J Epidemiol. 2013 Apr 15;177(8):818-25. doi: 10.1093/aje/kws300. Epub 2013 Mar 6.

Occupational noise exposure and incident hypertension in men: a prospective cohort study.

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Department of Occupational Safety and Health, College of Public Health, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan, Republic of China.


The associations between occupational noise exposure and hypertension remain controversial because of the differences in study designs, exposure assessments, and confounding controls. This prospective study investigated the relationship between noise exposure and the 10-year risk of hypertension. A cohort of 578 male workers in Taiwan was followed from 1998 to 2008. All subjects were divided into high-, intermediate-, and low-exposure groups on the basis of noise exposure assessment. Cox regression models were used to estimate the relative risks of hypertension after adjustment for potential confounders. During the 7,805 person-years of follow-up, 141 hypertension cases were identified. Significant increases of 3.2 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.2, 6.2) mm Hg in systolic blood pressure and 2.5 (95% CI: 0.1, 4.8) mm Hg in diastolic blood pressure between the baseline and follow-up measurements were observed in the high-exposure group. Participants exposed to ≥85 A-weighted decibels (dBA) had a 1.93-fold (95% CI: 1.15, 3.22) risk of hypertension compared with those exposed to <80 dBA. There was a significant exposure-response pattern (P = 0.016) between the risk of hypertension and the stratum of noise exposure. Prolonged exposure to noise levels ≥85 dBA may increase males' systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels. This association may translate into a higher incidence of hypertension.

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