Maternal Occupational Exposure to Noise: Prevalence, Maternal Effects, and Infant Outcomes

Occupational noise exposure is a significant public health concern. Excessive exposure to noise has been found to be associated not only with hearing loss and other auditory conditions, but stress, sleep disturbance, and even chronic conditions such as hypertension and coronary heart disease (CHD).1-4 There is considerable evidence to suggest that noise-induced oxidative stress may be a risk factor for several disorders during pregnancy and may also impact the health outcomes of infants.10-15 The current proposed study seeks to utilize ‘control’ participants obtained through the National Birth Defects Prevention Study (NBDPS) from 1997-2011 in order to 1] characterize and report the prevalence of maternal noise exposure by occupation, income and education; 2] examine potential associations between maternal occupational noise exposure and presence of pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes during pregnancy; and 3] examine potential associations between maternal occupational noise exposure and occurrence of preterm birth and infants characterized as small-for-gestational age (SGA). The proposed work supports the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) for Adverse Reproductive Outcomes (Objectives 7-9). The proposed study findings have the ability to 1] inform council members and the general public about any potential harm to mother or infant due to various degrees of occupational noise exposure and 2] quantify existing occupational noise exposure among expectant workers from a large population-based, case-control study. Further understanding of maternal occupational noise exposure will help inform the most knowledgeable policies and industry standards in order to provide the best level of protection for workers and their children.