Noisy workplace linked to heart disease: study

October 14, 2010

Chronic exposure to workplace noise may double an employee's risk of serious heart disease, indicates research from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

According to a study abstract published online Oct. 5 in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, researchers conducted interviews and medical tests with more than 6,000 participants of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2004. Participants were divided into two groups: people who endured persistent loud noise for at least three months and those who did not.

Employees who worked in noisy workplaces were 2 to 3 times more likely to have serious heart problems than their counterparts in quiet workplaces, the abstract said.

Researchers suggested loud noise may cause as much stress as sudden emotion or physical exertion, which prompt chemical responses that constrict blood flow to the coronary arteries.