Johnson, A-C. et al. (2017) International Journal of Audiology. 56(supp 1) pp.63-73
Objective: The aim was to investigate the influence of environmental exposures on hearing loss in a twin cohort.
Conclusions: Pre-existing hearing loss can increase the risk of hearing impairment due to occupational noise exposure. An increased risk for NIHL was also seen in the group with exposures below 85 dB(A), a result that indicates awareness of NIHL should be raised even for those working in environments where sound levels are below 85 dB(A).
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Roberts, B. et al. (2017) International Journal of Audiology. 56(Supp.1) pp. 4-12
Objective: To analyse over 700,000 cross-sectional measurements from the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MHSA) and develop statistical models to predict noise exposure for a worker.
Conclusion: Overall noise levels in mines have been decreasing. However, this decrease has not been uniform across all mining sectors. The exposure predictions from the model will be useful to help predict hearing loss in workers in the mining industry.
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Cantley LF, et al. Does tinnitus, hearing asymmetry, or hearing loss predispose to occupational injury risk? International Journal of Audiology 2014 Dec 30:1-7;
Results of a new study provide further evidence that tinnitus combined with high-frequency hearing loss may represent an important safety hazard to workers, especially in noisy environments.
Researchers from Yale’s Occupational and Environmental Medicine Program (Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, USA) recently published the results of their study in the International Journal of Audiology. The study included more than 8800 workers employed at six aluminum manufacturing plants between 2003 to 2008.
The aim was to carry out a retrospective analysis of the relative contributions of tinnitus, asymmetrical hearing loss, low-frequency hearing loss, and high-frequency hearing loss to acute injury risk. The study adjusted for ambient noise exposure and for other known predictors of injury risk.
Results showed that there is a 25% increased risk of acute injury and a subset of serious acute injuries among workers with a history of tinnitus in conjunction with high-frequency hearing loss. Low-frequency hearing loss was found to be potentially associated with minor, less serious injury risk. No evidence was found that asymmetry contributes to this risk. The authors mention already established links between tinnitus and sleep disturbance, fatigue, and distraction.
In their conclusion, the researchers point to the importance of carefully examining the communication needs of hearing-impaired workers and workers with tinnitus who are exposed to workplace noise. They also recommend that more studies be conducted to assess relationships between tinnitus, hearing loss, and injury risk.