Noise, or undesirable sound, is one of the most common environmental stressors, and it can cause various health effects. Beyond the auditory consequences of occupational noise exposure, extra-auditory effects such as psychological problems have also been found. The aim of the current study is to elucidate the association between occupational noise annoyance and psychological symptoms, including symptoms of depression and suicidal ideation.
A total of 10,020 participants (5,410 men and 4,610 women) were included in the current analysis, using data from the fourth Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES). Self-report questionnaires were used to assess noise annoyance levels, depressive symptoms, and suicidal ideation. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) for psychosocial symptoms were calculated using multiple logistic regression models.
Compared to the no noise annoyance group, ORs (95% CI) of the severe annoyance groups were 1.58 (1.12–2.23) and 1.76 (1.29–2.40) in men and 1.49 (1.05–2.11) and 1.41 (1.01–1.97) in women for depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation, respectively. The ORs (95% CI) for severe noise annoyance in those with less than five hours of sleep were 2.95 (1.46–5.96) and 2.05 (1.01–4.16) in men and women, respectively, compared with those with no noise annoyance and a sleep time of more than five hours.
Our study shows that occupational noise annoyance is significantly related to mental health, including depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation after controlling for individual and socio-demographic characteristics even with gender stratification. However, prospective studies with quantified noise exposure assessment were needed to elucidate the causality on the association between noise annoyance and psychological symptoms.