Hearing Loss and Noise Exposure Among Commercial Fishermen in the Gulf Coast

Objective: Noise is a hazard in commercial fishing. This cross-sectional study associates occupational noise exposure with hearing loss in commercial fishermen.
Methods: A comprehensive survey and audiometric testing were administered to 227 participants in the Gulf Coast. Sound-level measurements were obtained aboard a sample of fishing vessels. Criteria specific for hearing impairment (HI) and noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) were applied to each audiogram.
Results: The majority of these fishermen work shifts more than 16 hours for an extended duration. Hazardous noise levels were measured in the engine rooms ranging from 94.8 to 105.0?dBA. NIHL was significantly associated with years spent fishing, but not with age. HI was significantly associated with age, but not with years fishing.
Conclusions: Commercial fishermen in the Gulf may be at a considerable risk of occupational NIHL and would benefit from hearing conservation programs.

Source: Levin, Jeffrey L.; Curry, William F.; Shepherd, Sara; Nalbone, J. Torey; Nonnenmann, Matthew W. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: March 2016, Volume 58, Issue 3, p. 306-313.

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