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   2013| November-December  | Volume 15 | Issue 67  
    Online since November 12, 2013

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Road traffic noise, air pollution components and cardiovascular events
Yvonne de Kluizenaar, Frank J van Lenthe, Antoon J.H. Visschedijk, Peter Y.J. Zandveld, Henk M.E. Miedema, Johan P Mackenbach
November-December 2013, 15(67):388-397
DOI:10.4103/1463-1741.121230  PMID:24231417
Traffic noise and air pollution have been associated with cardiovascular health effects. Until date, only a limited amount of prospective epidemiological studies is available on long-term effects of road traffic noise and combustion related air pollution. This study investigates the relationship between road traffic noise and air pollution and hospital admissions for ischemic heart disease (IHD: International Classification of Diseases (ICD9) 410-414) or cerebrovascular disease (cerebrovascular event [CVE]: ICD9 430-438). We linked baseline questionnaire data to 13 years of follow-up on hospital admissions and road traffic noise and air pollution exposure, for a large random sample (N = 18,213) of inhabitants of the Eindhoven region, Netherlands. Subjects with cardiovascular event during follow-up on average had higher road traffic noise day, evening, night level (L den) and air pollution exposure at the home. After adjustment for confounders (age, sex, body mass index, smoking, education, exercise, marital status, alcohol use, work situation, financial difficulties), increased exposure did not exert a significant increased risk of hospital admission for IHD or cerebrovascular disease. Relative risks (RRs) for a 5 th to 95 th percentile interval increase were 1.03 (0.88-1.20) for L den; 1.04 (0.90-1.21) for particulate matter (PM 10 ); 1.05 (0.91-1.20) for elemental carbon (EC); and 1.12 (096-1.32) for nitrogen dioxide (NO 2 ) in the full model. While the risk estimate seemed highest for NO 2 , for a 5 th to 95 th percentile interval increase, expressed as RRs per 1 μg/m 3 increases, hazard ratios seemed highest for EC (RR 1.04 [0.92-1.18]). In the subgroup of study participants with a history of cardiovascular disease, RR estimates seemed highest for noise exposure (1.19 [0.87-1.64] for L den); in the subgroup of elderly RR seemed highest for air pollution exposure (RR 1.24 [0.93-1.66] for NO 2 ).
  18,289 57 15
Comparison of sound propagation and perception of three types of backup alarms with regards to worker safety
Véronique Vaillancourt, Hugues Nélisse, Chantal Laroche, Christian Giguère, Jérôme Boutin, Pascal Laferrière
November-December 2013, 15(67):420-436
DOI:10.4103/1463-1741.121249  PMID:24231421
A technology of backup alarms based on the use of a broadband signal has recently gained popularity in many countries. In this study, the performance of this broadband technology is compared to that of a conventional tonal alarm and a multi-tone alarm from a worker-safety standpoint. Field measurements of sound pressure level patterns behind heavy vehicles were performed in real work environments and psychoacoustic measurements (sound detection thresholds, equal loudness, perceived urgency and sound localization) were carried out in the laboratory with human subjects. Compared with the conventional tonal alarm, the broadband alarm generates a much more uniform sound field behind vehicles, is easier to localize in space and is judged slighter louder at representative alarm levels. Slight advantages were found with the tonal alarm for sound detection and for perceived urgency at low levels, but these benefits observed in laboratory conditions would not overcome the detrimental effects associated with the large and abrupt variations in sound pressure levels (up to 15-20 dB within short distances) observed in the field behind vehicles for this alarm, which are significantly higher than those obtained with the broadband alarm. Performance with the multi-tone alarm generally fell between that of the tonal and broadband alarms on most measures.
  16,878 40 10
Evaluation of the effects of exposure to organic solvents and hazardous noise among US Air Force Reserve personnel
Hayley Hughes, Katherine L Hunting
November-December 2013, 15(67):379-387
DOI:10.4103/1463-1741.121224  PMID:24231416
Hearing loss affects many workers including those in the military and may be caused by noise, medications, and chemicals. Exposures to some chemicals may lead to an increase in the incidence of hearing loss when combined with hazardous noise. This retrospective study evaluated the risk for hearing loss among Air Force Reserve personnel exposed to occupational noise with and without exposures to toluene, styrene, xylene, benzene, and JP-8 (jet fuel). Risk factors associated with hearing loss were determined using logistic and linear regression. Stratified analysis was used to evaluate potential interaction between solvent and noise exposure. The majority of the subjects were male (94.6%) and 35 years or older on the date of their first study audiogram (66%). Followed for an average of 3.2 years, 9.2% of the study subjects had hearing loss in at least one ear. Increasing age (odds ratio [OR] = 1.03 per year of age) and each year of follow-up time (OR = 1.23) were significantly associated with hearing loss. Low and moderate solvent exposures were not associated with hearing loss. Linear regression demonstrated that hearing loss was significantly associated with age at first study audiogram, length of follow-up time, and exposure to noise. Hearing decreased by 0.04 decibels for every decibel increase in noise level or by almost half a decibel (0.4 dB) for every 10 decibel increase in noise level.
  13,307 57 11
The cost of hypertension-related ill-health attributable to environmental noise
Anne-Helen Harding, Gillian A Frost, Emma Tan, Aki Tsuchiya, Howard M Mason
November-December 2013, 15(67):437-445
DOI:10.4103/1463-1741.121253  PMID:24231422
Hypertension (HT) is associated with environmental noise exposure and is a risk factor for a range of health outcomes. The study aims were to identify key HT related health outcomes and to quantify and monetize the impact on health outcomes attributable to environmental noise-related HT. A reiterative literature review identified key HT related health outcomes and their quantitative links with HT. The health impact of increases in environmental noise above recommended daytime noise levels (55 dB[A]) were quantified in terms of quality adjusted life years and then monetized. A case study evaluated the cost of environmental noise, using published data on health risks and the number of people exposed to various bands of environmental noise levels in the United Kingdom (UK). Three health outcomes were selected based on the strength of evidence linking them with HT and their current impact on society: Acute myocardial infarction (AMI), stroke and dementia. In the UK population, an additional 542 cases of HT-related AMI, 788 cases of stroke and 1169 cases of dementia were expected per year due to daytime noise levels ≥55 dB(A). The cost of these additional cases was valued at around £1.09 billion, with dementia accounting for 44%. The methodology is dependent on the availability and quality of published data and the resulting valuations reflect these limitations. The estimated intangible cost provides an insight into the scale of the health impacts and conversely the benefits that the implementation of policies to manage environmental noise may confer.
  12,702 49 5
Classroom acoustics and hearing ability as determinants for perceived social climate and intentions to stay at work
Roger Persson, Jesper Kristiansen, Søren P Lund, Hitomi Shibuya, Per Møberg Nielsen
November-December 2013, 15(67):446-453
DOI:10.4103/1463-1741.121254  PMID:24231423
Background noise and room acoustics may impede social interactions by interfering with oral communication and other cognitive processes. Accordingly, recent research in school environments has showed that social relationships with peers and teachers are described more negatively in rooms with long reverberation times (RT). The purpose of this study was to investigate how RT and hearing ability (i.e., hearing thresholds [HT] and distortion product oto-acoustic emissions) were associated with schoolteachers' perceptions of the social climate at work and their intentions to stay on the job. Schoolteachers (n = 107) from 10 schools that worked in classrooms classified by acoustical experts as "short RT" (3 schools, mean RT 0.41-0.47 s), "medium RT" (3 schools, mean RT 0.50-0.53 s), and "long RT" (4 schools, mean RT 0.59-0.73 s) were examined. Teachers who worked in classrooms with long RT perceived their social climate to be more competitive, conflict laden, and less relaxed and comfortable. They were more doubtful about staying on the job. Even if the teachers were generally satisfied with their work the results suggest that the comfort at work may have been further improved by acoustical interventions that focus on reducing sound reflections in the classrooms. Yet, due the study design and the novelty of the findings the potential practical significance of our observations remains to be evaluated.
  10,398 21 4
The correlation between serum leptin and blood pressure after exposure to noise at work
Muayad S Rahma, Bassma Ezzat Mustafa, Ailin Razali, Niza Shamsuddin, Osama Y Althunibat
November-December 2013, 15(67):375-378
DOI:10.4103/1463-1741.121223  PMID:24231415
Several epidemiologic studies have reported that exposure to noise is associated with cardiovascular disease. The increased body weight is often associated with metabolic as well as increased blood pressure. The aim of this study is to investigate the correlation between the elevation of blood pressure and serum leptin hormones due to the effects of noise in the work place. A total of 80 volunteer males where included in this study with an age range between of 20 and 45 years, they were divided in two groups equally, the 1 st group were exposed to noise in the workplace while the 2 nd group were not. The individual noise exposure was determined by using a sound level meter. The range of noise was 80-100 dBA. Body Mass Index was also taken for each individual by a standard measure, blood pressure was measured by OMRON sphygmomanometer and serum leptin was measured through venous blood sample analysis enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. Spearman rank order correlation was used to examine the correlations between Blood pressure value (Systolic, Diastolic) and Leptin. All the relationships between parameters showed a positive correlation. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure values had a significant correlation to leptin hormone level in comparison to the control. There was a significant relation between leptin and blood pressure. leptin effects on the sympathetic nervous system may provide a partial explanation. Therefore, Leptin might have diverse cardiovascular actions.
  10,011 39 2
Qualitative and quantitative assessment of noise at moderate intensities on extra-auditory system in adult rats
Noura Gannouni, Abada Mhamdi, Olfa Tebourbi, Michèle El May, Mohsen Sakly, Khémais Ben Rhouma
November-December 2013, 15(67):406-411
DOI:10.4103/1463-1741.121236  PMID:24231419
Noise has long been realized as an environmental stress causing physiological, psychological and behavioral changes in humans. The aim of the present study was to determinate the effect of chronic noise at moderate intensities on both glandular and cardiac function and oxidative status. Our problem comes from working conditions in call centers where operators are responsible for making simple and repetitive tasks. One wishes to ascertain the effects of moderate sound levels on rats exposed to the same noise levels during similar periods to those experienced by call center operators. Male Wistar rats were exposed to 70 and 85 dB(A) to an octave-band noise (8-16 kHz) 6 h/day for 3 month. Corticosterone levels, oxidative status and functional exploration of adrenal and thyroid glands and cardiac tissue were determined. Exposure to long-term noise for different intensities (70 and 85 dB(A)) resulted in increased corticosterone levels, affected various parameters of the endocrine glands and cardiac function. Markers of oxidative stress (catalase, superoxide dismutase and lipid peroxidation) were increased. These results imply that long-term exposure to noise even at moderate levels may enhance physiological function related to neuroendocrine modulation and oxidative imbalance. In these data, the physiological changes occur during the different sounds suggests the concept of allostatic load or homeostatic response of the body.
  9,991 39 13
The prevalence of audiometric notches in adolescents in Germany: The Ohrkan-study
Dorothee Twardella, Carmelo Perez-Alvarez, Thomas Steffens, Gabriele Bolte, Hermann Fromme, Ulla Verdugo-Raab
November-December 2013, 15(67):412-419
DOI:10.4103/1463-1741.121241  PMID:24231420
Although there is concern about increasing hearing loss in adolescents caused by leisure noise exposure, prevalence data are scarce. In an US study, about 16-17% of adolescents were affected by audiometric notches. To estimate the prevalence of audiometric notches in adolescents in Germany, baseline data of the cohort study Ohrkan, recruitment during the school years 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 were analyzed. All students in grade 9 visiting any school in the city of Regensburg were eligible for participation. Data was collected via standardized questionnaires from students and their parents. In addition, students were asked to visit the University Clinics of Regensburg for ear examination including a tympanogram and the determination of hearing thresholds in air conduction audiometry. The prevalence of audiometric notches was determined in students with normal tympanogram in both ears and complete audiometry data. Audiometric notches were defined according to criteria used to analyse US data. Overall, 2149 students (1158 girls, 991 boys mainly aged 15-16 years) of the 3846 eligible adolescents (56%) participated. Among the 1843 adolescents with complete audiometry and tympanometry data, the prevalence of audiometric notches was 2.4% (95% confidence interval 1.7-3.1%). We could not confirm the high prevalence of audiometric notches as reported in National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys for adolescents in the US. Differences in prevalence might be at least partly due to methodical differences in audiometry. Even if empirical evidence is presently ambiguous, it is reasonable to educate young people about the potential risks of high leisure noise exposure.
  9,684 34 9
Does tinnitus "fill in" the silent gaps?
Jennifer Campolo, Edward Lobarinas, Richard Salvi
November-December 2013, 15(67):398-405
DOI:10.4103/1463-1741.121232  PMID:24231418
In the basic sciences, many researchers now use gap pre-pulse inhibition of the acoustic startle reflex (GPIAS) to determine if an animal has tinnitus after exposure to an ototoxic drug or intense noise. Tinnitus is assumed to be present if the silent gap in an ongoing narrow band noise (NBN) fails to suppress the startle reflex response evoked by an intense noise burst. The lack of gap pre-pulse inhibition presumably occurs because tinnitus fills in the silent intervals in the background noise. To test the perceptual aspects of this hypothesis, we asked hearing impaired subjects with tinnitus if they could perceive 50 ms silent intervals presented in a NBN, which was located above, below or at the subject's tinnitus pitch. The same tests were performed on normal hearing subjects without tinnitus. All subjects, with and without tinnitus, could detect the 50 ms gaps. Thus, using the stimulus parameters similar to those employed in animal and human GPIAS studies, we found that the tinnitus percept does not fill in the silent interval in a perceptual gap detection task; however, these finding do not rule out the possibility that tinnitus interferes with pre-attentive filtering of sensory stimuli in the GPIAS sensorimotor gating paradigm.
  9,601 29 28