Prevalence of Hearing Loss Among Noise-Exposed Workers Within the Health Care and Social Assistance Sector, 2003 to 2012

Objective: The purpose was to estimate the prevalence of hearing loss for noise-exposed U.S. workers within the Health Care and Social Assistance (HSA) sector.
Methods: Audiograms for 1.4 million workers (8702 within HSA) from 2003 to 2012 were examined. Prevalences and adjusted risks for hearing loss as compared with a reference industry were estimated for the HSA sector and all industries combined.
Results: While the overall HSA sector prevalence for hearing loss was 19%, the prevalences in the Medical Laboratories subsector and the Offices of All Other Miscellaneous Health Practitioners subsector were 31% and 24%, respectively. The Child Day Care Services subsector had a 52% higher risk than the reference industry.
Conclusion: High-risk industries for hearing loss exist within the HSA sector. Further work is needed to identify the sources of noise exposure and protect worker hearing.

Source: Masterson, Elizabeth, A., Themann, Christa, L., Calvert, Geoffrey, M. (2018). Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 60(4), 350–356.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/JOM.0000000000001214

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