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No accelerated 20-year hearing decline after occupational noise exposure has ceased: The HUNT study

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  • 2023


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Objectives It has been suggested that noise exposure can accelerate hearing decline after the noise exposure has ceased. We aimed to assess long-term hearing decline in persons with and without prior occupational noise exposure. Methods We conducted a population-based longitudinal study in Norway using the Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT) from 1996 to 1998 (baseline) and from 2017 to 2019 (follow-up). The sample included 1648 participants with baseline age ≥55 years (42% men, mean age 60 years) and <5 years occupational noise exposure after baseline. We analyzed the association between occupational noise exposure before baseline and mean hearing decline between 1998 and 2018 (20-year decline) at each frequency, adjusted for age, sex, education, and impulse noise exposure before baseline. Results Occupational noise exposure before baseline (N = 603) was associated with baseline hearing loss, but not with later accelerated 20-year decline, at any frequency. Noise-exposed persons had less subsequent 20-year decline at 3 kHz than did nonexposed. Restricting the noise-exposed group to persons who also had a baseline Coles notch (hearing thresholds at 3, 4, or 6 kHz of 10 dB or more compared with thresholds at 1 or 2 kHz and 6 or 8 kHz; N = 211), the exposed group showed less 20-year decline at both 3 and...

Aarhus, Lisa; Molaug, Ina Charlotte; Engdahl, Bo Lars
American Journal of Industrial Medicine Wiley-Liss Inc., American Journal of Industrial Medicine
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