Occupational noise exposure and risk of incident stroke: A pooled study of five Scandinavian cohorts

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Objectives To investigate the association between occupational noise exposure and stroke incidence in a pooled study of five Scandinavian cohorts (NordSOUND). Methods We pooled and harmonised data from five Scandinavian cohorts resulting in 78 389 participants. We obtained job data from national registries or questionnaires and recoded these to match a job-exposure matrix developed in Sweden, which specified the annual average daily noise exposure in five exposure classes (L Aeq8h): <70, 70-74, 75-79, 80-84, ≥85 dB(A). We identified residential address history and estimated 1-year average road traffic noise at baseline. Using national patient and mortality registers, we identified 7777 stroke cases with a median follow-up of 20.2 years. Analyses were conducted using Cox proportional hazards models adjusting for individual and area-level potential confounders. Results Exposure to occupational noise at baseline was not associated with overall stroke in the fully adjusted models. For ischaemic stroke, occupational noise was associated with HRs (95% CI) of 1.08 (0.98 to 1.20), 1.09 (0.97 to 1.24) and 1.06 (0.92 to 1.21) in the 75-79, 80-84 and ≥85 dB(A) exposure groups, compared with <70 dB(A), respectively. In subanalyses using time-varying occupational noise exposure, we observed an indication of higher stroke risk among the most exposed (≥85 dB(A)), particularly when restricting analyses to people exposed to occupational noise within the last year (HR: 1.27; 95% CI: 0.99 to 1.63). Conclusions We found no association between occupational noise and risk of overall stroke after adjustment for confounders. However, the non-significantly increased risk of ischaemic stroke warrants further investigation.

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Thacher, J. D., Roswall, N., Lissåker, C., Aasvang, G. M., Albin, M., Andersson, E. M., … Sorensen, M. (2022). Occupational noise exposure and risk of incident stroke: A pooled study of five Scandinavian cohorts. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 79(9), 594–601. https://doi.org/10.1136/oemed-2021-108053

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