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Turn down that radio! Years of loud noise may lead to tumor

ntinuously updated Swedish population registry. Study participants ranged in age from 20 to 69.

All participants were asked if they were regularly exposed to occupational and non-occupational loud noise and, if so, for how many years. "Loud noise" was defined as at least 80 decibels the sound of city traffic.

If the subjects said that they had been regularly exposed to loud noise, they were then asked to describe the activities during which they were exposed to that noise.

Categories for loud noise exposure included: exposure to machines, power tools and/or construction noise; exposure to motors, including airplanes; exposure to loud music, including employment in the music industry; and exposure to screaming children, sports events and/or restaurants or bars.

The researchers also collected data on the use of hearing protection.

The two types of loud noise posing the highest risk of acoustic neuroma development were exposure to machines, power tools and/or construction (1.8 times more likely to develop the tumor) and exposure to music, including employment in the music industry (2.25 times more likely to develop the tumor.)

Exposure to motors, including airplanes increased acoustic neuroma risk by 1.3 times, while regular exposure to screaming children, sports events and/or bars and restaurants increased the risk by 1.4 times.

The number of years that a person was exposed to any category of loud noise also contributed to the development of acoustic neuroma. Just five years of regular exposure to loud noise increased the chance that a person would develop acoustic neuroma by one-and-a-half times.

"It's not surprising that the longer that people are exposed to loud noise, the greater their chances become for developing the tumor," Edwards said.

The study results also suggest the importance of wearing ear protection when exposed to loud noises. People who reported that they protected their ears fr
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4-Jan-2006


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