Occupational Noise Exposure and Hyperacusis among Female Workers in Sweden – a hazard found below the current limit level

June 8, 2022 at 9:00 am

Dr Hashir Aazh interviews Dr Sofie Fredriksson from School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, about her upcoming presentation at the 6th International Conference on Hyperacusis and Misophonia which is planned for Friday-Saturday 1-2 July 2022 at Birkbeck College, University of London, London, United Kingdom.


Sofie is a licensed audiologist currently working as a researcher at Occupational and Environmental Medicine in the research group Sound Environment and Health. Her research mainly concerns the area of hearing and health in relation to noise and psychosocial stress exposure at work. The focus is on female-dominated workplaces in preschool and health care and touches on gender aspects in the field of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.


Dr Sofie Fredriksson’s talk focuses on her study which aimed to assess whether exposure to occupational noise increased the risk of hyperacusis symptoms among female workers in general and preschool teachers in particular. They performed a retrospective longitudinal study using survey data collected from a cohort of randomly selected women from the general population in Sweden and a cohort of female preschool teachers, in total n = 8328. Hyperacusis was assessed by self-reported onset year and one item addressing discomfort or pain from everyday sounds. In the main analysis, the outcome was defined as occurring at least a few times each week. Sensitivity analyses included more strict definitions: a) at least several times each week, and b) every day. Occupational noise exposure was assessed using the Swedish Job-Exposure Matrix (JEM), <75 dB(A), 75–85 dB(A) and >85 dB(A), where preschool teachers are assigned to the 75–85 dB(A) interval. Occupational noise exposure was defined by the occupation held at year of hyperacusis onset, or the occupation held at the survey year if no event occurred. The statistical analysis was done using survival analysis with frailty regression modelling, with the hazard of hyperacusis analysed in relation to years of occupational noise exposure accounting for individual variation in survival times, adjusting for possible confounders including age, education, income, family history of hearing loss, and change of jobs due to noise. Their study shows an increased risk of hyperacusis among women exposed below the occupational noise limit in Sweden (85 dB LAeq,8h), and indicates a need for improved hearing prevention measures and noise abatement measures in occupations with noise levels from 75 dB(A).

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