A noisy work environment is bad for the ears, but also for the heart. This is the conclusion of a large study conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in the United States.
According to the US Department of Labor, 22 million workers are exposed each year to noise nuisance at work and $ 242 million is spent to compensate for hearing losses due to working conditions. Researchers reveal in a recent study that a noisy work environment is not only harmful for hearing, but also for the heart. Their findings are published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.
The researchers analyzed data from a national health survey. They find that 25% of workers are exposed to noise levels that are potentially harmful to their ears and that 14% of them are exposed to excessive noise in their work environment over the past 12 months.
They also report that 12% of workers report a hearing problem while 24% of them suffer from hypertension and 28% from hypercholesterolemia.
In addition, of those reporting hearing problems, 58% experienced these problems as a result of exposure to high noise levels in their workplace.
Most surprisingly, however, many people who are hypertensive or have high blood cholesterol levels also report noise exposure. More precisely 14% of the 24% of the workers suffering from hypertension and 9% of the 28% having a high blood cholesterol level contracted these conditions in noisy workplaces. The occupations most exposed to excessive noise are production (55%), construction and mining (54%).
According to Elizabeth Materson, who led this study, “if noise could be reduced to safer levels in the workplace, more than 5 million cases of hearing impairment among noise-exposed workers could potentially be avoided”.
According to Dr. John Howard, Director of NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health), “Workplace health and wellness programs that include tests for high blood pressure and high blood pressure, cholesterol should also target workers exposed to noise.”