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ABSTRACT: There is a lack of data about police officers' hearing thresholds and the risk of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) associated with this occupation. In France, 129,000 national police officers, 96,000 state police force members and 16000 municipal police officers may be affected by occupational noise exposure.
To evaluate the association between police employment and NIHL.
We undertook a cross-sectional study using review of medical records. Audiometric and otological data and information on potential confounders were extracted from medical records. Global hearing loss and selective 4000 Hz hearing loss were analysed.
Of total, 1692 subjects (887 policemen and 805 civil servants) participated in the study. After adjusting for potential cofounders, police officers were 1.4 times more likely to have a selective 4000 Hz hearing loss than civil servants (95% CI 1.1-1.9). This difference was greater between motorcycle police officers and civil servants (OR = 3; 95% CI 1.4-6.3).
These data suggest that occupational noise exposure in police work, particularly in motorcycle police officers, may induce hearing loss. Noise sources need to be more accurately defined to confirm high-level noise exposures, to better define significant sources of noise and to identify effective solutions.
Occupational Medicine 08/2009; 59(7):483-6. DOI:10.1093/occmed/kqp091 · 1.47 Impact Factor