Systematic review of the cardiovascular effects of occupational noise

Occup Med (Lond). 2016 Jan;66(1):10-6. doi: 10.1093/occmed/kqv148.


Background: Cross-sectional studies of occupational noise and cardiovascular effects show an association between noise and hypertension but for coronary heart disease or other cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) the evidence is not convincing.

Aims: To assess possible associations between occupational noise exposure and the risk for cardiovascular effects in follow-up studies published after 1999.

Methods: We performed a systematic critical literature review of original articles from key literature databases of associations between workplace noise and health. The studies were identified by search in Ovid Medline, Ovid Embase, Web of Science, Scopus and ProQuest Health and Safety Sciences Abstracts. We selected prospective studies of adequate quality with a measure of association between occupational noise exposure and cardiovascular health for the meta-analysis.

Results: Twelve papers, all prospective and mostly with high quality but with methodological shortcomings in exposure assessment, were included in the review and meta-analysis. Exposure to noise at work was consistently positively associated with hypertension [Hazard ratio (HR) = 1.68; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.10-2.57] and CVD [relative risk (RR) = 1.34; 95% CI 1.15-1.56]. In addition, we found a trivial effect of noise exposure on CVD mortality (HR = 1.12; 95% CI 1.02-1.24).

Conclusions: Occupational noise exposure is strongly associated with hypertension. For other cardiovascular effects, this meta-analysis suggests a weak association, but the evidence is limited. More longitudinal studies on the effects of occupational noise on the cardiovascular system are warranted.

Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; epidemiologic methods; noise..

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / etiology
  • Noise, Occupational / adverse effects*
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / mortality
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*