Multiple work-related accidents: tracing the role of hearing status and noise exposure
ABSTRACT Our main purpose was to investigate any relationship between noise exposure levels in the workplace, degree of hearing loss (HL), and the relative risk of accident (OR of single or multiple events).
We conducted a retrospective study of 52 982 male workers aged 16-64 years with long-standing exposures to occupational noise over a 5-year period, using "hearing status" and "noise exposure" from the registry held by the Quebec National Institute of Public Health. Information on work-related accidents was obtained from the Quebec Workers' Compensation Board. Hearing threshold level measurements and noise exposures were regressed on the numbers of accidents after adjusting for age.
Exposure to extremely noisy environments (L(eq8h) (equivalent noise level for 8 h exposure) > or =90 dBA) is associated with a higher relative risk of accident. The severity of hearing impairment (average bilateral hearing threshold levels at 3, 4 and 6 kHz) increases the relative risk of single and multiple events when threshold levels exceed 15 dB of hearing loss. The relative risk of multiple events (four or more) is approximately three times higher among severely hearing-impaired workers who are exposed to L(eq8h) > or =90 dBA.
Single and multiple events are associated with high noise exposure and hearing status. This suggests that reducing noise exposure contributes to increased safety in noisy industries and prevents hearing loss. Hearing-impaired workers assigned to noisy workstations should be provided with assistive listening devices and efficient communication strategies should be implemented.
SourceAvailable from: PubMed CentralJournal of occupational and environmental medicine / American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 05/2014; 56 Suppl 5S(5 Suppl):S5-S11. DOI:10.1097/JOM.0000000000000071 · 1.80 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Objective: To determine the relative contributions of tinnitus, asymmetrical hearing loss, low frequency hearing loss (pure tone average of 0.5, 1, 2, 3 kHz; PTA.5123), or high frequency hearing loss (pure tone average of 4, 6 kHz; PTA46), to acute injury risk among a cohort of production and maintenance workers at six aluminum manufacturing plants, adjusting for ambient noise exposure and other recognized predictors of injury risk. Design: Retrospective analysis. Study sample: The study considered 9920 workers employed during 2003 to 2008. The cohort consisted of 8818 workers (89%) whose complete records were available. Results: Adjusting for noise exposure and other recognized injury predictors, a 25% increased acute injury risk was observed among workers with a history of tinnitus in conjunction with high-frequency hearing loss (PTA46). Low frequency hearing loss may be associated with minor, yet less serious, injury risk. We did not find evidence that asymmetry contributes to injury risk. Conclusion: These results provide evidence that tinnitus, combined with high-frequency hearing loss, may pose an important safety threat to workers, especially those who work in high-noise exposed environments. These at risk workers may require careful examination of their communication and hearing protection needs.International Journal of Audiology 12/2014; DOI:10.3109/14992027.2014.981305 · 1.43 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: This study aimed to examine the associations between acute workplace injury risk, ambient noise exposure, and hearing acuity, adjusting for reported hearing protection use.Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health 08/2014; 41(1). DOI:10.5271/sjweh.3450 · 3.10 Impact Factor