Association Between Noise Exposure and Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Environ Res. 2018 Oct;166:647-657. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2018.05.011. Epub 2018 Jul 10.


Background: The prevalence of diabetes is on rise worldwide and environmental factors are being increasingly recognized to be involved in this rise. An emerging body of evidence has evaluated the impact of long-term exposure to noise on diabetes mellitus, highlighting the need to synthesize this evidence.

Objectives: To systematically review and conduct meta-analysis of the available evidence on the association between long-term exposure to transport and occupational noise exposure and diabetes mellitus.

Methods: Selected databases were searched for available evidence published till September 13th, 2017 following MOOSE guidelines. The quality of articles was assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. Random effects meta-analysis was applied to abstract combined estimates for diabetes mellitus per 5 dB increase in noise exposure. We evaluated the heterogeneity applying Cochran's Q test and quantified it using I2 statistic. Meta-regressions were conducted to identify sources of heterogeneity. Publication bias was evaluated using funnel plot and Egger's test.

Results: Fifteen studies met our inclusion criteria of which nine including five prospective cohorts, two cross-sectional and two case-control studies with a total number of 444460 adult participants and 17430 diabetes mellitus cases included in meta-analyses. We observed a 6% (95% confidence interval (CI): 3%, 9%) increase in the risk of diabetes mellitus per 5 dB increase in noise exposure regardless of its source. Source-specific analyses were suggestive for stronger associations for air traffic noise (combined odds ratio: 1.17; 95% CI: 1.06, 1.29 per 5 dB increase in exposure) flowed by road traffic noise (combined odds ratio: 1.07; 95% CI: 1.02, 1.12). We observed some indications of publication bias; however the findings were robust after trim and fill test. Meta-regression analyses showed that the adjustment in general, and not specifically related to air pollution, could predict the between-study heterogeneity in reported associations.

Conclusions: The results indicate an increased risk of diabetes mellitus associated with noise exposure, mainly related to air and road traffic.

Keywords: Diabetes mellitus; Environmental exposure; Glucose homeostasis; Noise exposure; Traffic; Transportation noise.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology*
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Noise / adverse effects*