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Occupational Noise Exposure, Bilateral High-Frequency Hearing Loss, and Blood Pressure

Gan, Wen, Qi, MD, PhD; Mannino, David, M., MD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: May 2018 - Volume 60 - Issue 5 - p 462–468
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001232

Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the relationships between occupational noise exposure and blood pressure using self-reported occupational exposure and bilateral high-frequency hearing loss.

Methods: This study included 4548 participants aged 20 to 69 years from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999 to 2004. On the basis of self-reported exposure status, participants were divided into the current, former, or never exposed groups. Bilateral high-frequency hearing loss was defined as the average high-frequency hearing threshold at least 25 dB in both ears.

Results: The currently exposed participants had slightly increased diastolic blood pressure compared with those never exposed. Among previously exposed participants, those with bilateral high-frequency hearing loss had increased systolic blood pressure, heart rate, and the prevalence of hypertension compared with those with normal high-frequency hearing.

Conclusion: Although there were some significant results, the evidence was not consistent to support the associations between occupational noise exposure and blood pressure.

Environmental Health Services, British Columbia Center for Disease Control, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (Dr Gan), and Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health, College of Public Health, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky (Drs Gan, Mannino).

Address correspondence to: Dr Wen Qi Gan, MD, PhD, Environmental Health Services, British Columbia Center for Disease Control, 655 West 12th Avenue, Vancouver, BC V5Z 4R4, Canada (

No outside funding was received to support this work.

The authors have no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2018 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine