Exposure to loud noise and risk of vestibular schwannoma: results from the INTERPHONE international case‒control study

Scand J Work Environ Health. 2019 Mar 1;45(2):183-193. doi: 10.5271/sjweh.3781. Epub 2018 Nov 5.


Objective Studies of loud noise exposure and vestibular schwannomas (VS) have shown conflicting results. The population-based INTERPHONE case‒control study was conducted in 13 countries during 2000-2004. In this paper, we report the results of analyses on the association between VS and self-reported loud noise exposure. Methods Self-reported noise exposure was analyzed in 1024 VS cases and 1984 matched controls. Life-long noise exposure was estimated through detailed questions. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated using adjusted conditional logistic regression for matched sets. Results The OR for total work and leisure noise exposure was 1.6 (95% CI 1.4-1.9). OR were 1.5 (95% CI 1.3-1.9) for only occupational noise, 1.9 (95% CI 1.4-2.6) for only leisure noise and 1.7 (95% CI 1.2-2.2) for exposure in both contexts. OR increased slightly with increasing lag-time. For occupational exposures, duration, time since exposure start and a metric combining lifetime duration and weekly exposure showed significant trends of increasing risk with increasing exposure. OR did not differ markedly by source or other characteristics of noise. Conclusion The consistent associations seen are likely to reflect either recall bias or a causal association, or potentially indicate a mixture of both.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuroma, Acoustic / epidemiology*
  • Noise, Occupational / statistics & numerical data*
  • Occupational Exposure / statistics & numerical data*