2016-02-01 12:00 - Messages

Understanding Noise Exposure Limits: Occupational vs. General Environmental Noise

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is 100% preventable; however, once acquired, it is permanent and irreversible [NIOSH 1998]. Understanding and minimizing the risks associated with noise exposures are the keys to preventing noise-related hearing loss.  NIOSH has a long history of leadership in conducting research, advancing control measures, and recommending noise-exposure limits to prevent job-related hearing loss.  Sometimes, observers ask whether our recommended limits for occupational exposure can be applied to exposures in the general environment from sources such as street noise, consumer appliances, and recreational pastimes.
The answer, as we'll explain below, is not exactly.

Source: http://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2016/02/08/noise/

Hearing difficulty and tinnitus among U.S. workers and non-workers in 2007

Background: Hearing loss and tinnitus are two potentially debilitating physical conditions affecting many people in the United States. The purpose of this study was to estimate the prevalence of hearing difficulty, tinnitus, and their co-occurrence within U.S. populations.
Methods: Data from the 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) were examined. Weighted prevalence and adjusted prevalence ratios for self-reported hearing difficulty, tinnitus, and their co-occurrence were estimated and compared by demographic, among workers with and without occupational noise exposure, and across industries and occupations.
Results: Seven percent of U.S. workers never exposed to occupational noise had hearing difficulty, 5% had tinnitus and 2% had both conditions. However, among workers who had ever been exposed to occupational noise, the prevalence was 23%, 15%, and 9%, respectively (P < 0.0001).
Conclusions: Hearing difficulty and tinnitus are prevalent in the U.S.; especially among noise-exposed workers. Improved strategies for hearing conservation or better implementation are needed.

Source: Elizabeth A. Masterson,  Christa L. Themann, Sara E. Luckhaupt, Jia Li, and Geoffrey M. Calvert. American Journal of Industrial Médicine, 2016.

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