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Year : 2009  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 43  |  Page : 93--97

Self-reported noise exposure as a risk factor for long-term sickness absence

1 National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Denmark
2 Department of Biostatistics, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
3 The Danish National Centre for Social Research, Copenhagen, Denmark

Correspondence Address:
Jesper Kristiansen
National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Lers° ParkallÚ 105, DK-2100 Copenhagen ě
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1463-1741.50693

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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.


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