Headphones A research has found that people who have had years of repeated exposure to loud noise, have an increased risk of developing a non-cancerous tumor, called acoustic neuroma. This non-cancerous tumor may lead to hearing loss.

The study found that people, who had been exposed to years of loud noise, were on average one-and-a-half times more likely to develop this type of tumor compared to people who weren’t exposed to such noise on a regular basis.

Hearing loss occurs gradually, as the tumor grows slowly and presses the cranial nerve that is responsible for sensing sound and helping with balance. Symptoms of the tumor include hearing loss and tinnitus, a constant ringing in the ears. They also typically become noticeable around age 50 or older.

The study, by a team of researchers from Ohio State University, was led by Colin Edwards. As a part of the research, the team gathered four years of data from the Swedish portion of the INTERPHONE Study, an international study of cell phone use and tumors that affect the brain and head.

The team conducted the study on 146 study participants with acoustic neuroma, as well as an additional 564 people without the tumor who served as controls were also interviewed by a nurse. Study participants ranged in age from 20 to 69, and of the 146 people with acoustic neuroma, nearly two out of three were 50 or older.

Researchers found that the two types of loud noise posing the highest risk of acoustic neuroma development were exposure to machines, power tools and/or construction which increased tumor risk by 1.8 times and exposure to music, including employment in the music industry, which increased the risk by 2.25.

Colin Edwards said that loud noise was seen to be the cause of the tumor, and added that it did not make a difference whether it was job related or not. “It doesn’t matter if the noise comes from years of on-the-job exposure or from a source that isn’t job-related. It’s not surprising that the longer that people are exposed to loud noise, the greater their chances become for developing the tumor,” he said.