Background: We aimed to examine whether cross-sectional (prevalence) and longitudinal relationships (5-year incidence and 10-year mortality) exist between workplace noise exposure and cardiovascular diseases (CVD).
Methods: 2942 participants aged 55+years of the Blue Mountains Eye Study, Australia (1997-9 and 2002-4). Participants self-reported workplace noise exposure, hearing protector use and physician diagnosed CVD. CVD deaths were confirmed using the Australian National Death Index.
Results: 133 and 937 participants self-reported workplace noise exposure, and use or non-use of hearing protection devices, respectively. After multivariate adjustment, those who did not use hearing protection devices were 53% and 75% more likely to have prevalent CVD and angina, respectively, compared to those never exposed to workplace noise. Exposure to severe workplace noise for less than 1 to 5 years versus no exposure was associated with incident stroke OR 3.44 (95% CI 1.11-10.63). The mortality rate of CVD was 0.94% per year in people unexposed to workplace noise. Participants reporting less than 1 to 5 years versus those with no workplace noise exposure had a higher risk of CVD mortality, hazard ratio, HR, 1.60 (95% CI 1.10-2.33).
Discussion: These data highlight the public health impact of workplace noise exposure on the vascular health of older adults.
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