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2009| April-June | Volume 11 | Issue 43
April 27, 2009
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Self-reported noise exposure as a risk factor for long-term sickness absence
Thomas Clausen, Karl Bang Christensen, Thomas Lund, Jesper Kristiansen
April-June 2009, 11(43):93-97
Self-reported noise exposure is on the rise in Denmark. Little is known, however, about the social consequences, including sickness absence, of noise exposure. The aim of this paper was to investigate the association between self-reported noise exposure and long-term sickness absence. The association was investigated using the Cox proportional hazards model to analyze outcomes in Danish register data on the basis of Danish survey data (5357 employees aged 18-69 in 2000). The analyses showed that self-reported noise exposure was significantly associated with long-term sickness absence for both men and women when adjusting for demographic factors and health behavior. After further adjustment for physical workload at work the association between noise exposure and sickness absence disappeared for women, but not for men. Men that reported to be exposed to loud noise between one-quarter and three-quarters of their time at work had an increased risk of 43% (CI: 10-85%) for sickness absence of two weeks or longer compared to men that reported never to be exposed to loud noise. Men that reported to be little/rarely exposed to loud noise had an increased risk of 37% (CI: 7-76%). Men that reported to be exposed to loud noise more than three-quarters of their time at work did not have an increased risk of sickness absence. This latter result might be due a healthy worker effect and/or more frequent use of hearing protection in this group. Along with evidence from previous studies these results provide further support for an association between occupational noise exposure and sickness absence.
Noise sensitivity and subjective health: Questionnaire study conducted along trunk roads in Kusatsu, Japan
Hiroki Kishikawa, Toshihito Matsui, Iwao Uchiyama, Masamitsu Miyakawa, Kozo Hiramatsu, Stephen A Stansfeld
April-June 2009, 11(43):111-117
A questionnaire study was conducted in a residential area along trunk roads in Kusatsu, Japan, in order to investigate the association between noise exposure, noise sensitivity, and subjective health. Subjective health of the respondents was measured by the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28) which yields the total score as an index of psychiatric disorder and four subscales. Noise sensitivity was measured by the improved version of the Weinstein's noise sensitivity scale named WNS-6B. The original WNS and a single question directly asking respondents' noise sensitivity were also applied to confirm the validity of the WNS-6B for investigating the effects of road traffic noise on subjective health. Respondents were also asked about disturbances of daily life due to noise exposure to find the cause of the health effects. Three hundred and twenty three answers were entered into the analysis. Applying the WNS-6B as the noise sensitivity measurement scale, a significant correlation was found between subjective health and noise exposure in the noise-sensitive group, while no significant correlation was observed in the insensitive group. These results suggest that the adverse health effects may exist especially in the sensitive group. Application of the other two noise sensitivity measurement scales showed no significant relationship either in the sensitive group or in the insensitive group. The WNS-6B would have greater advantage for detecting adverse health effects than the other scales. Furthermore, the primary cause of the adverse health effect was investigated. The results of the analysis indicated that the adverse health effects were mainly caused by the sleep disturbance and were not caused by hearing interference.
Distortion product otoacoustic emissions in an industrial setting
George S Korres, Dimitrios G Balatsouras, Antonis Tzagaroulakis, Dimitris Kandiloros, Elisabeth Ferekidou, Stavros Korres
April-June 2009, 11(43):103-110
Distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs) is an objective sensitive test of cochlear function. The aim of this study was the evaluation of noise-induced hearing loss in a group of industrial workers, using this method in conjunction with standard puretone audiometry (PTA). One hundred and five subjects (210 ears) were included in the study. PTA, tympanometry, and DPOAEs were performed. Results were analyzed using a mixed analysis of variance model, and compared with the data of 34 normal persons of similar age and sex. We found statistically significant lower DPOAE levels in the noise-exposed group than in the control group. Additionally, the effect of frequency was significant, indicating that amplitude varied across frequency, with lower responses observed at 4 and 6 kHz, and maximum response found at 2 kHz. PTA showed a statistically significant effect of Group, owed to elevated puretone thresholds in the noise-exposed subjects, but a Frequency main effect was not found, although the interaction between Frequency and Group was statistically significant, as well as the interaction between Frequency and Ear. A main effect for Ear was found only in puretone thresholds, due to better thresholds in the left ears of the subjects, and not in DPOAE measurements. DPOAE levels were selectively affected at the higher frequencies, whereas puretone thresholds were affected at all frequencies. Direct comparison of the number of significantly affected ears between the two methods at 1, 2, and 4 kHz showed statistically significant differences at all comparisons, with more ears affected in PTA in comparison with DPOAEs at 4 kHz, whereas more ears were affected in DPOAEs at the lower frequencies (1 and 2 kHz). Therefore, it may be concluded that DPOAEs and PTA are both sensitive methods in detecting noise-induced hearing loss, with DPOAEs tending to be more sensitive at lower frequencies.
Chronic exposure of rats to occupational textile noise causes cytological changes in adrenal cortex
Maria Joao R Oliveira, Mariana P Monteiro, Andreia M Ribeiro, Duarte Pignatelli, Artur P Aguas
April-June 2009, 11(43):118-123
Chronic exposure to industrial noise and its effects on biological systems. Occupational exposure to noise may result in health disorders. Our aim was to evaluate the effects of chronic exposure to high-intensity noise of textile industry cotton rooms on the adrenal morphology. The environmental noise of a cotton-mill room from a large textile factory of Northern Portugal was recorded and reproduced by an adopted electroacoustic setup in a sound-insulated animal room where the rats were housed. The sounds were reproduced at the original levels of approximately 92 dB, which was achieved by equalization and distribution of sound output in the room. Wistar rats were submitted to noise exposure, in the same time schedule as employed in textile plants. After one, three, five, and seven months, the adrenals were collected and analyzed by light microscopy. Analyzed by multivariate analysis of variance and
Bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons of the means between the groups. Noise exposure induced time-dependent changes in adrenal cortex, with decrease of zona fasciculata (ZF) and increase of zona reticularis volumes, together with a significant depletion of lipid droplet density in ZF cells of exposed rats, in comparison to control rats. Chronic exposure of rats to textile industry noise triggers cytological changes in the adrenals that suggest the existence of a sustained stress response.
A national project to evaluate and reduce high sound pressure levels from music
Johanna Bengtsson Ryberg
April-June 2009, 11(43):124-128
The highest recommended sound pressure levels for leisure sounds (music) in Sweden are 100 dB LAeq and 115 dB LAFmax for adults, and 97 dB LAeq and 110 dB LAFmax where children under the age of 13 have access. For arrangements intended for children, levels should be consistently less than 90 dB LAeq. In 2005, a national project was carried out with the aim of improving environments with high sound pressure levels from music, such as concert halls, restaurants, and cinemas. The project covered both live and recorded music. Of Sweden's 290 municipalities, 134 took part in the project, and 93 of these carried out sound measurements. Four hundred and seventy one establishments were investigated, 24% of which exceeded the highest recommended sound pressure levels for leisure sounds in Sweden. Of festival and concert events, 42% exceeded the recommended levels. Those who visit music events/establishments thus run a relatively high risk of exposure to harmful sound levels. Continued supervision in this field is therefore crucial.
Noise characteristics of grass-trimming machine engines and their effect on operators
Zulquernain Mallick, Irfan Anjum Badruddin, MT Khaleed Hussain, NJ Salman Ahmed, Jeevan Kanesan
April-June 2009, 11(43):98-102
Over the last few years, interaction of humans with noisy power-driven agricultural tools and its possible adverse after effects have been realized. Grass-trimmer engine is the primary source of noise and the use of motorized cutter, spinning at high speed, is the secondary source of noise to which operators are exposed. In the present study, investigation was carried out to determine the effect of two types of grass-trimming machine engines (SUM 328SE and BG 328) noise on the operators in real working environment. It was found that BG-328 and SUM-328SE produced high levels of noise, of the order of 100 and 105 dB(A), respectively, to which operators are exposed while working. It was also observed that situation aggravates when a number of operators simultaneously operate resulting in still higher levels of noise. Operators should be separated 15 meters from each other in order to avoid the combined level of noise exposure while working with these machines. It was found that SPL, of the grass-trimmer machine engines (BG-328 and SUM-328SE), were higher than the limit of noise recommended by ISO, NIOSH, and OSHA for an 8-hour workday. Such a high level of noise exposure may cause physiological and psychological problems to the operators in long run.
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