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Can loud noise cause acoustic neuroma? Analysis of the INTERPHONE study in France
  1. M Hours1,
  2. M Bernard1,
  3. M Arslan1,
  4. L Montestrucq1,
  5. L Richardson2,3,
  6. I Deltour2,4,
  7. E Cardis2,5
  1. 1
    Université de Lyon, Institut National de Recherche sur les Transports et leur Sécurité, Lyon, France
  2. 2
    Radiation Unit, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France
  3. 3
    Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montreal, Ca- H2W 1T7, Montréal, Québec, Canada
  4. 4
    Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Institute of Cancer Epidemiology, Copenhagen, Denmark
  5. 5
    CREAL-Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology, Barcelona, Spain
  1. Martine Hours, Université de Lyon, Institut National de Recherche sur les Transports et leur Sécurité, Institut national de Veille Sanitaire, Unité Mixte de Recherche épidémiologique et de Surveillance Transports Travail Environnement T9405, 8 Avenue Rockefeller, Lyon cedex 08 F-69373, France; martine.hours{at}


Objectives: To investigate possible associations between risk of acoustic neuroma and exposure to loud noise in leisure and occupational settings.

Methods: A case-control study was conducted in France within the international INTERPHONE study. The cases were the 108 subjects diagnosed with acoustic neuroma between 1 June 2000 and 31 August 2003. Two controls per case were selected from the electoral rolls and individually matched for gender, age (5 years) and area (local authority district) of residence at the time of the case diagnosis. Multivariate analyses were conducted using conditional logistic regression. Adjustment was made for socioeconomic status.

Results: Acoustic neuroma was found to be associated with loud noise exposure (odds ratio (OR) = 2.55; 95% CI 1.35 to 4.82), both in leisure settings, particularly when listening to loud music (OR = 3.88; 95% CI 1.48 to 10.17) and at work (OR = 2.26; 95% CI 1.08 to 4.72). This risk increased with exposure duration (>6 years’ leisure exposure: OR = 3.15; 95% CI 1.07 to 9.24). Risk varied according to the type of noise (continuous or explosive vs intermittent).

Conclusion: The present results agree with other recent reports implicating loud noise in the risk of acoustic neuroma.

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  • Competing interests: None declared.

  • Funding: This study was conducted with funding from the European Fifth Framework Program, “Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources” (contract QLK4-CT-1999901563) and the International Union against Cancer (UICC). The UICC received funds for this purpose from the Mobile Manufacturers’ Forum and GSM Association. Provision of funds to the INTERPHONE study investigators via the UICC was governed by agreements that guaranteed INTERPHONE’s complete scientific independence. The terms of these agreements are publicly available at Additional funding for the study in France was provided by l’Association pour la Recherche sur le Cancer (ARC: Contract No. 5142) and three network operators (Orange, SFR, Bouygues Télécom). The funds provided by the operators represented 5% of the total cost of the French study and were governed by contracts guaranteeing the complete scientific independence of the investigators.

  • Ethics approval: The study was approved by the relevant Ethics Committees.