Background: Hypertension is the primary out-auditory adverse outcome caused due to occupational noise exposure. This study investigated the associations of noise exposure in an occupational setting with blood pressure and risk of hypertension.
Methods: A total of 1,390 occupational noise-exposed workers and 1399 frequency matched non-noise-exposed subjects were recruited from a cross-sectional survey of occupational noise-exposed and the general population, respectively. Blood pressure was measured using a mercury sphygmomanometer following a standard protocol. Multiple logistic regression was used to calculate the odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) of noise exposure adjusted by potential confounders.
Results: Noise-exposed subjects had significantly higher levels of systolic blood pressure(SBP) (125.1 ± 13.9 mm Hg) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) (77.6 ± 10.7 mm Hg) than control subjects (SBP: 117.2 ± 15.7 mm Hg, DBP: 70.0 ± 10.5 mm Hg) (P < 0.001). Significant correlations were found between noise exposure and blood pressure (SBP and DBP) (P < 0.001). However, the linear regression coefficients with DBP appeared larger than those with SBP. The prevalence of hypertension was 17.8% in subjects with noise exposure and 9.0% in control group (P < 0.001). Compared with the control group, the subjects with noise exposure had the risk of hypertension with an OR of 1.941 (95% CI = 1.471- 2.561) after adjusting for age, sex, smoking, and drinking status. Dose-response relationships were found between noise intensity, years of noise exposure, cumulative noise exposure and the risk of hypertension (all P values < 0.05). No significant difference was found between subjects wearing an earplug and those not wearing an earplug, and between steady and unsteady noise categories (P > 0.05).
Conclusions: Occupational noise exposure was associated with higher levels of SBP, DBP, and the risk of hypertension. These findings indicate that effective and feasible measures should be implemented to reduce the risk of hypertension caused by occupational noise exposure.
Keywords: Diastolic blood pressure (DBP); Hypertension; Occupational noise exposure; Odds ratio (OR); Systolic blood pressure (SBP).