The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported that a quarter of adults are exposed to loud noises on the job. Sometimes excessive noise and vibration are just part of using various types equipment but exposure may come at a cost to one’s health.
For a long time, people have known that loud and excessive noise can result in loss of hearing, and prolonged exposure to vibration can have a negative effect on the musculoskeletal system, but recently the CDC publicized a study that shows noisy jobs many contribute to high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels in the human body.
Researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have analyzed data from a 2014 National Health Interview Survey to study the connection between occupational noise exposure and hearing difficulty, as well as an increase in heart conditions connected to high blood pressure and high LDL cholesterol levels, which are both key risk factors in heart disease—the leading cause of death for American adults.
Through their survey analysis, NIOSH found that, in addition to the 25 percent of current workers reporting a history of work-related noise exposure, 14 percent report that exposure occurring as recently as within the last year. Hearing difficulty was reported by 12 percent of workers. 24 percent said they had high blood pressure and 28 percent said they had high cholesterol. Noise exposure was attributed to 14 percent of those high blood pressure cases and 9 percent of high cholesterol cases.
Co-author of the NIOSH study, Dr. Liz Masterson, Ph.D said that those numbers were significant. She also noted that if workplace noise levels could be reduced to safer levels, instances of hearing difficulty, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol could potentially be prevented.
Mining, construction, and manufacturing industries showed the highest prevalence of occupational noise exposure. Those with jobs in production, construction and extraction, and installation, maintenance, and repair were shown to have the highest risk of excessive noise exposure.
As these industries and jobs are important, and eliminating or controlling one’s exposure to workplace noise isn’t always possible, it may seem as though there’s little that can be done, but that isn’t so. Those workers under high risk of harmful noise exposure can benefit from undergoing regular health screenings to check specifically for hearing, blood pressure, and cholesterol issues.
It’s also important to utilize devices that provide noise and vibration control. You’ll find many examples of such products through isolationtech.com. In addition to wearable noise protection, active control of noise and vibration helps to reduce and isolate the sound and tremor caused by heavy equipment that’s used in many industrial settings.
More information on the impact of occupational noise can be found through online resources provided by the NIOSH.