Last Updated: 2007-12-06 11:52:22 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Contradicting some prior reports, new study results do not demonstrate an increased risk of acoustic neuroma related to occupational noise exposure.

"A small number of prior epidemiologic studies of occupational noise exposure based on self-report have suggested an association with acoustic neuroma," Dr. Colin Edwards, of Ohio State University, Columbus, and colleagues write in the December 1st issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.

The researchers examined the putative association in a register-based case-control study. A total of 793 acoustic neuroma cases were identified between 1987 and 1999 from the Swedish Cancer Registry, and these were matched to 101,756 control subjects randomly selected from the Swedish Population Registry.

Occupational information was obtained from censuses and was linked to a job exposure matrix based on actual noise measurements.

The researchers observed no association between occupational noise exposure and an increased acoustic neuroma risk, regardless of exposure level, exposure duration, or latency period.

"Because we had no direct measure of each individual’s exposure to noise but rather used occupational categories to estimate this exposure, the effect of nondifferential misclassification of exposure must be considered as a potential cause of the negative findings," Dr. Edwards and colleagues explain.

Nonetheless, they conclude, "The overall results of the study do not support the hypothesis that occupational noise exposure is a risk factor for acoustic neuroma."

Am J Epidemiol 2007;166:1252-1258.