Prevalence of hearing loss among noise-exposed workers within the Mining and Oil and Gas Extraction sectors, 2006-2015

Background: The purpose of this study was to estimate the prevalence of hearing loss (HL) among noise‐exposed US workers within the Mining, and Oil and Gas Extraction (OGE) sectors.
Methods: Audiograms of 1.9 million workers across all industries (including 9389 in Mining and 1076 in OGE) from 2006 to 2015 were examined. Prevalence and adjusted risk as compared to a reference industry (Couriers and Messengers) were estimated for all industries combined and the Mining and OGE sectors and subsectors.
Results: The prevalences of HL in Mining and OGE were 24% and 14%, respectively, compared with 16% for all industries combined. Many Mining and one OGE subsector exceeded these prevalences and most had an adjusted risk (prevalence ratio) significantly greater than the reference industry. Some subsectors, particularly in OGE, could not be examined due to low sample size. The prevalences in Construction Sand and Gravel Mining and Natural Gas Liquid Extraction were 36% and 28%, respectively. Workers within Support Activities for Coal Mining had double the risk of HL than workers in the reference industry.
Conclusions: The many subsectors identified with high prevalences and/or worker risks for HL well above risks in the reference industry need critical attention to conserve worker hearing and maintain worker quality of life. Administrative and engineering controls can reduce worker hazardous noise exposures. Noise and ototoxic chemical exposure information is needed for many subsectors, as is audiometric testing results for OGE workers. Additional research is also needed to further characterize exposures and improve hearing conservation measures.

Source: Lawson, S. M., Masterson, E. A. et Azman, A. S. (2019). American journal of industrial medicine.
https://doi.org/10.1002/ajim.23031

A critical review of the literature on comfort of hearing protection devices

Definition of comfort and identification of its main attributes for earplug types
Objective: This article presents a comprehensive literature review of past works addressing Hearing Protection Devices (HPD) comfort and to put them into perspective regarding a proposed holistic multidimensional construct of HPD comfort.
Design: Literature review.
Study samples: Documents were hand searched and Internet searched using “PubMed”, “Web of Science”, “Google Scholar”, “ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Professional”, “Scopus” or “Google” search engines. While comfort constructs and measurement methods are reviewed for both earplugs and earmuff types, results and analyses are provided for the earplug type only.
Results: This article proposed a multidimensional construct of HPD comfort based on four dimensions: physical, functional, acoustical and psychological. Seen through the prism of the proposed holistic construct of HPD comfort, the main comfort attributes of earplugs have been identified for each comfort dimension.
Conclusions: The observed lack of consensus on the definition of HPD comfort in the scientific community makes it difficult to prioritise the importance of comfort attributes yet necessary for future design of comfortable earplugs.

Source: Doutres, O., Sgard, F., Terroir, J., Perrin, N., Jolly, C., Gauvin, C. et Negrini, A. (2019). International journal of audiology.
https://doi.org/10.1080/14992027.2019.1646930

FD CEN ISO/TR 19664 - Réponse des individus aux vibrations

Recommandations et terminologie pour les instruments et l'équipement d'évaluation de l'exposition quotidienne aux vibrations sur le lieu de travail selon les exigences de santé et de sécurité
L'évaluation de l'exposition des individus aux vibrations transmises à la fois au niveau du système main-bras et au niveau de l'ensemble du corps, sur le lieu de travail, repose sur l'évaluation combinée des amplitudes de vibration et des temps d'exposition. Plusieurs types d'instruments et sources de données peuvent être utilisés pour déterminer ces valeurs. Le présent document fournit des recommandations et une explication des concepts utilisés pour: - les processus de mesure; - les types d'instruments; - la source de l'amplitude de vibration.

Source: https://www.boutique.afnor.org/norme/fd-cen-iso-tr-19664/reponse-des-individus-aux-vibrations-recommandations-et-terminologie-pour-les-instruments-et-l-equipement-d-evaluation-de-l-ex/article/929296/fa196444

Working in preschool increases the risk of hearing-related symptoms

A cohort study among Swedish women
Purpose: To assess whether working in preschools increases the risk of hearing-related symptoms and whether age, occupational noise, and stressful working conditions affect the risk.
Methods: Questionnaire data on hearing-related symptoms were analysed in women aged 24–65 (4718 preschool teachers, and 4122 randomly selected general population controls). Prevalence and risk ratio (RR) of self-reported hearing loss, tinnitus, difficulty perceiving speech, hyperacusis and sound-induced auditory fatigue were assessed by comparing the cohorts in relation to age and self-reported occupational noise and stressful working conditions (effort–reward imbalance and emotional demands). RR was calculated using log-binomial regression models adjusted for age, education, income, smoking, hearing protection, and leisure noise. Incidence rates and incidence rate ratios (IRR) were calculated for retrospectively reported onset of all symptoms except sound-induced auditory fatigue.
Results: Compared to the controls, preschool teachers had overall more than twofold RR of sound-induced auditory fatigue (RR 2.4, 95% confidence interval 2.2–2.5) and hyperacusis (RR 2.3, 2.1–2.5) and almost twofold for difficulty perceiving speech (RR 1.9, 1.7–2.0). Preschool teachers had a threefold IRR of hyperacusis (IRR 3.1, 2.8–3.4) and twofold for difficulty perceiving speech (IRR 2.4, 2.2–2.6). Significantly although slightly less increased RR and IRR were observed for hearing loss and tinnitus. RR and IRR were generally still increased for preschool teachers when stratified by age and occupational exposure to noise and stress.
Conclusions: This large cohort study showed that working as preschool teacher increases the risk of self-reported hearing-related symptoms, indicating a need of preventative measures.

Source: Fredriksson, S., Kim, J. L., Torén, K., Magnusson, L., Kähäri, K., Söderberg, M. et Waye, K. P. (2019). International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health.
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00420-019-01453-0

Nuisances sonores

Trop souvent, le bruit reste le parent pauvre de la prévention. Soit il est ignoré, soit il ne fait l'objet que d'une protection individuelle à travers les casques et bouchons d'oreilles. Pourtant, ce risque aux conséquences diverses, de la gêne, source de mal-être, à la lésion irréversible, en fonction de sa puissance, peut être traité facilement.
Trois millions de salariés exposés. Près de six actifs sur dix qui se disent gênés sur leur lieu de travail, tous secteurs confondus (industries, BTP, services, administrations…). Le bruit constitue une nuisance majeure en milieu professionnel. Il reste pourtant insuffisamment pris en compte en tant que risque professionnel.


Source: (2019). Travail et sécurité, (905), 12-24.
http://www.travail-et-securite.fr/ts/dossier/NUISANCES%20SONORES.html

Développement d’une antenne microphonique intégrant un système optique pour identifier la position des sources sonores les plus bruyantes en milieu industriel

Dans un contexte industriel, le bruit émis par des machines peut nuire à la santé des travailleurs et générer des problèmes de surdité ou de pertes auditives. Pour pallier ces problèmes, des solutions acoustiques efficaces doivent être mises en place en amont. La première étape d'une étude acoustique de réduction de bruit consiste à localiser la position des sources et à hiérarchiser leurs contributions. Dans un environnement industriel, les travailleurs sont répartis autour des machines et le nombre de celles-ci peut être important. Cela rend le champ acoustique complexe à cause des multiples réflexions sur les murs et objets; il est donc souvent difficile d'identifier les sources de bruit principales. La localisation des positions des sources peut être réalisée à l'aide d'un réseau de microphones appelé antenne acoustique. La performance des techniques de localisation de sources dépend du nombre de microphones, de leur répartition et du traitement du signal associé.

L'objectif de cette activité était de développer une antenne acoustique sphérique associée à une technique temporelle basée sur les intercorrélations des signaux microphoniques, appelée Generalized Cross-Correlation (GCC) dans la littérature anglo-saxonne, pour identifier la position des sources sonores les plus bruyantes en milieu industriel. La technique du GCC nécessite un segment temporel des signaux microphoniques pour générer une cartographie des sources; elle est reconnue comme étant robuste même dans des environnements acoustiques complexes où le champ réverbéré a une contribution significative (cas général des locaux industriels). Quant à l'antenne sphérique, elle permet une localisation des sources sonores dans la totalité de l'espace.

Dans cette étude, des critères permettant d'évaluer la qualité de la cartographie des sources sont présentés. Puis, un critère d'optimisation de la géométrie de l'antenne est proposé. L'antenne optimisée est ensuite fabriquée et une caméra panoramique (permettant de prendre des photos ou vidéos) est ajoutée pour pouvoir superposer la photographie du local à la cartographie des sources. Finalement, l'antenne sphérique développée, associée à la technique du GCC, est testée dans des conditions contrôlées (chambres hémi-anéchoïque et réverbérante), puis dans un atelier où plusieurs opérateurs utilisent des machines. Les résultats montrent qu'il est possible de localiser la position des différentes machines malgré leurs contenus sonores différents et les multiples réflexions.

Source : https://www.irsst.qc.ca/publications-et-outils/publication/i/101020/n/antenne-microphonique-systeme-optique-milieu-industriel

Cloueuses portatives - Développement de méthodes de diagnostic vibratoire et acoustique

Le fonctionnement des cloueuses portatives étant basé sur un processus d'impact visant à enfoncer un clou, l'utilisation de ces outils expose les travailleurs à des bruits et à des vibrations à caractère impulsionnel, en générant des niveaux très élevés pendant un très court laps de temps. Par ailleurs, l'exposition aux bruits et aux vibrations impulsionnels engendre un risque de développer des maladies professionnelles. Des échanges avec l'Association paritaire pour la santé et la sécurité du travail du secteur de la construction (ASP Construction) ont confirmé que ce type d'outil est très utilisé par les travailleurs de la construction qui, au Québec, se classent parmi les 5 premiers groupes de travailleurs en ce qui concerne le nombre d'indemnisations pour surdité professionnelle. Il est donc nécessaire de choisir et de concevoir des cloueuses
moins bruyantes et pour lesquelles le niveau de vibration à la poignée est réduit. Il s'agit d'une tâche difficile à réaliser, car très peu d'information existe sur les niveaux de bruit et de vibrations de ces outils, ainsi que sur les moyens de les réduire.
Ce projet vise trois objectifs : (i) vérifier si les normes actuelles pour le bruit (EN 12549) et les vibrations (ISO 8662) permettent de mesurer en laboratoire des valeurs d'émission acoustique et vibratoire comparables aux valeurs mesurées sur le terrain; (ii) développer et utiliser des méthodes de diagnostic des sources de bruit et vibrations en laboratoire; (iii) formuler des pistes de solution visant à réduire les niveaux de bruit et de vibrations des cloueuses.

Source: http://www.irsst.qc.ca/publications-et-outils/publication/i/101011/n/cloueuses-portatives

Occupational Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Occupational hearing loss is preventable through a hierarchy of controls, which prioritize the use of engineering controls over administrative controls and personal protective equipment. The occupational and environmental medicine (OEM) physician plays a critical role in the prevention of occupational noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). This position statement clarifies current best practices in the diagnosis of occupational NIHL.

Source: Mirza, R., Kirchner, D. B., Dobie, R. A., Crawford, J. et ACOEM Task Force on Occupational Hearing Loss. (2018). Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 60(9), e498-e501.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/JOM.0000000000001423

Exposure to loud noise and risk of vestibular schwannoma

Results from the INTERPHONE international case-control study
Objective: Studies of loud noise exposure and vestibular schwannomas (VS) have shown conflicting results. The population-based INTERPHONE case?control study was conducted in 13 countries during 2000–2004. In this paper, we report the results of analyses on the association between VS and self-reported loud noise exposure.
Methods: Self-reported noise exposure was analyzed in 1024 VS cases and 1984 matched controls. Life-long noise exposure was estimated through detailed questions. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated using adjusted conditional logistic regression for matched sets.
Results: The OR for total work and leisure noise exposure was 1.6 (95% CI 1.4–1.9). OR were 1.5 (95% CI 1.3–1.9) for only occupational noise, 1.9 (95% CI 1.4–2.6) for only leisure noise and 1.7 (95% CI 1.2–2.2) for
exposure in both contexts. OR increased slightly with increasing lag-time. For occupational exposures, duration, time since exposure start and a metric combining lifetime duration and weekly exposure showed significant trends of increasing risk with increasing exposure. OR did not differ markedly by source or other characteristics of noise.
Conclusion: The consistent associations seen are likely to reflect either recall bias or a causal association, or potentially indicate a mixture of both.

Source: Deltour, I., Schlehofer, B., Massardier-Pilonchéry, A., Schlaefer, K., Armstrong, B. Giles,G.G., ... INTERPHONE Study Group (2018). Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health.
http://dx.doi.org/10.5271/sjweh.3781

Étude de terrain pour l'évaluation de l'effet du masquage sonore sur la santé et le bien-être au travail dans les bureaux ouverts.

Les systèmes de masquage sonore d'aujourd'hui sont présentés comme des outils pour réduire les nuisances sonores dans les bureaux ouverts. Ces systèmes comprennent des haut-parleurs qui augmentent artificiellement le bruit de fond pour réduire l'intelligibilité de la parole et, selon leurs fabricants, ils réduisent les perturbations et la fatigue cognitive. Ces arguments reposent sur des études dont la représentativité reste limitée puisqu'elle ne repose que sur des expériences de laboratoire impliquant des temps d'exposition courts. C'est ce manque de données représentatives qui justifie la présente étude, dont l'objectif est d'évaluer in situ les effets d'un système de masquage sur différents états psychologiques (fatigue, stress, charge mentale) et sur les nuisances sonores. Pour atteindre cet objectif, un système de masquage acoustique du commerce a été sélectionné sur la base de critères techniques tels que la possibilité de générer un champ acoustique uniforme dans la pièce ou la possibilité d'ajuster automatiquement le niveau émis au niveau sonore environnant. Le système a été installé pendant plusieurs semaines dans un bureau ouvert d'une grande société bancaire française. Deux types de mesures ont été réalisés tout au long de la période de mise en oeuvre du système. (1) Mesures objectives : les caractéristiques de performance acoustique de la pièce ont été mesurées (dégradation spatiale du niveau sonore - D2, S et DL2 - et temps de réverbération) ainsi que le bruit ambiant à différents moments de fonctionnement du système. (2) Mesures subjectives à l'aide de questionnaires. Ces mesures subjectives nous ont permis d'évaluer les effets du masquage sonore sur les différents états psychologiques susmentionnés.

Source: http://www.inrs.fr/dms/inrs/Presse/presse-2018/INRS-communication-Hiroshima-FR/INRS-communication-Hiroshima-FR.pdf

Méthodologie innovante pour la caractérisation des matériaux acoustiques en laboratoire et étude de son applicabilité sur le terrain

La performance d'un traitement insonorisant se traduit par un coefficient d'absorption, qui est défini théoriquement entre une valeur de 0 (matériau non absorbant) et une valeur de 1 (matériau parfaitement absorbant). Peu précise à plusieurs égards, la mesure de ce coefficient est uniquement réalisée en laboratoire. Elle est caractérisée par la grande variabilité des résultats entre les laboratoires de test et les valeurs d'absorption obtenues atteignent souvent des valeurs non physiques en pratique (supérieures à 1). Pourtant, ces valeurs servent actuellement à choisir des matériaux pour des traitements absorbants, ou pour réaliser des calculs prévisionnels de bruit (pour lesquels la principale source d'erreur reste la connaissance précise de ces coefficients).
Sur la base d'une première preuve de concept, la présente étude propose une méthode de caractérisation robuste et fiable des traitements absorbants en laboratoire et évalue son applicabilité sur le terrain, afin de pouvoir mesurer les performances réelles des matériaux après leur installation. L'approche proposée repose sur la mesure de la propagation acoustique entre une source mobile (formant une « antenne » virtuelle) et un doublet microphonique fixe à faible distance d'un échantillon du matériau testé. Dans une étape de post-traitement ultérieure, ces données sont utilisées pour obtenir le coefficient d'absorption dans des conditions de champ acoustique diffus.

Source: http://www.irsst.qc.ca/publications-et-outils/publication/i/101005/n/caracterisation-materiaux-acoustiques

Occupational biomechanical risk factors for surgically treated ulnar nerve entrapment in a prospective study of male construction workers

Evidence was provided for forceful hand-grip work, with and without vibration, as a risk factor for ulnar nerve entrapment (UNE) surgery in a large cohort of Swedish construction  workers. Several individual biomechanical factors comprising such work were associated with increased risk of UNE, including: increased grip force, upper extremity load, frequency of hand-held tool use, and hand arm vibration.

Source: Jackson, J. A., Olsson, D., Punnett, L., Burdorf, A., Järvholm, B. et Wahlström, J. (2018). Scandinavian journal of work, environment & health.
http://dx.doi.org/10.5271/sjweh.3757

Canadiens vulnérables au bruit en milieu de travail

Contexte : Les lois relatives à la santé et à la sécurité visent à protéger les travailleurs des dangers, y compris du bruit excessif. Cependant, certains travailleurs ne sont pas tenus d'utiliser des dispositifs de protection de l'ouïe en cas d'exposition à du bruit intense et ils peuvent en subir les répercussions néfastes, notamment des troubles auditifs et des acouphènes.
Données et méthodes : Les données pour les personnes âgées de 19 à 79 ans (n = 6 571) ont été recueillies de 2012 à 2015 dans le cadre de l'Enquête canadienne sur les mesures de la santé. Les personnes exposées à du bruit intense en milieu de travail sont celles qui doivent élever la voix pour communiquer avec une personne se trouvant à la distance d'un bras. Les travailleurs vulnérables sont ceux qui ne sont pas tenus d'utiliser, pendant leur travail dans des environnements bruyants, des dispositifs de protection de l'ouïe et qui ne les utilisent que parfois, rarement ou jamais.
Résultats : On estime que 11 millions de Canadiens (43 %) ont travaillé dans des environnements bruyants et que plus de 6 millions d'entre eux (56 %) sont classés comme étant vulnérables au bruit en milieu de travail. Même si le pourcentage de femmes vulnérables (72 %) était supérieur à celui des hommes (48 %), le nombre d'hommes dépassait celui des femmes dans ce contexte pour atteindre 3,7 millions (par rapport à 2,4 millions de femmes). Les travailleurs autonomes étaient plus susceptibles d'être vulnérables que les employés, tout comme les cols blancs étaient plus susceptibles d'être vulnérables que les cols bleus. Les travailleurs vulnérables étaient plus enclins à déclarer souffrir de troubles auditifs et d'acouphènes que les personnes n'ayant jamais travaillé dans un environnement bruyant.
Interprétation : Un pourcentage élevé de travailleurs exposés à un milieu de travail bruyant était vulnérable parce que l'utilisation d'un dispositif de protection de l'ouïe n'était pas obligatoire ni courante

Source: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/fr/pub/82-003-x/2018008/article/00002-fra.pdf

Control of noise risk in the printing industry

Machinery used in the printing industry is inherently noisy. Noise levels in this industry have the potential to cause work-related hearing damage, if the risks are not properly assessed and managed. HSE has undertaken a study of noise levels and exposures in the printing industry, to determine noise risks and identify control measures.
The noise levels measured in this study indicate that print workers are exposed to hazardous levels of noise: 93% of the study population had noise exposure estimates exceeding the lower exposure action value (LEP,d 80 dB) specified in the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005.
However, many effective noise control features were observed, which, when fully and properly used, can be effective in reducing noise exposures.
The inherently noisy nature of the industry, even in more modern print works where quieter machinery is used, means that there is likely to be an ongoing requirement for the use of hearing protection. Although hearing protection was observed to be widely provided and used, failure to correctly fit plug-type protection was commonly observed.
Instruction handbooks, obtained for a sample of printing machinery, were found, in most cases, to contain declared noise emission information that would help the user assess and manage real-use risk.

Source: http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrhtm/rr1102.htm

The impact of workload on the ability to localize audible alarms

Very little is known about people's ability to localize sound under varying workload conditions, though it would be expected that increasing workload should degrade performance. A set of eight auditory clinical alarms already known to have relatively high localizability (the ease with which their location is identified) when tested alone were tested in six conditions where workload was varied. Participants were required to indicate the location of a series of alarms emanating at random from one of eight speaker locations. Additionally, they were asked to read, carry out mental arithmetic tasks, be exposed to typical ICU noise, or carry out either the reading task or the mental arithmetic task in ICU noise. Performance in the localizability task was best in the control condition (no secondary task) and worst in those tasks which involved both a secondary task and noise. The data does therefore demonstrate the typical pattern of increasing workload affecting a primary task in an area where there is little data. In addition, the data demonstrates that performance in the control condition results in a missed alarm on one in ten occurrences, whereas performance in the heaviest workload conditions results in a missed alarm on every fourth occurrence. This finding has implications for the understanding of both ‘inattentional deafness' and ‘alarm fatigue' in clinical environments.

Source: Edworthy, J., Reid, S., Peel, K., Lock, S., Williams, J., Newbury, C., ... et Farrington, M. (2018). Applied ergonomics, 72, 88-93.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apergo.2018.05.006

Revue de la littérature sur les liens entre la surdité professionnelle et la presbyacousie

Cette revue de la littérature a été réalisée pour répondre à une série de questions concernant le processus d'acquisition de la surdité professionnelle. L'objectif général du projet visait à documenter comment s'acquiert la surdité professionnelle en relation, plus particulièrement, avec la presbyacousie.
La revue de la littérature visait plus spécifiquement à 1) déterminer si l'exposition au bruit peut accélérer le processus de la presbyacousie; 2) établir si l'utilisation de facteurs de correction peut permettre de discriminer la surdité professionnelle de la presbyacousie; 3) évaluer comment évolue la surdité après l'arrêt de l'exposition à un bruit excessif au travail.

Source: http://www.irsst.qc.ca/publications-et-outils/publication/i/100984/n/revue-litterature-liens-surdite-professionnelle-presbyacousie

Use of the kurtosis statistic in an evaluation of the effects of noise and solvent exposures on the hearing thresholds of workers

An exploratory study
The aim of this exploratory study was to examine whether the kurtosis metric can contribute to investigations of the effects of combined exposure to noise and solvents on human hearing thresholds. Twenty factory workers exposed to noise and solvents along with 20 workers of similar age exposed only to noise in eastern China were investigated using pure-tone audiometry (1000–8000 Hz). Exposure histories and shift-long noise recording files were obtained for each participant. The data were used in the calculation of the cumulative noise exposure (CNE) and CNE adjusted by the kurtosis metric for each participant. Passive samplers were used to measure solvent concentrations for each worker exposed to solvents over the full work shift. Results showed an interaction between noise exposure and solvents for the hearing threshold at 6000 Hz. This effect was observed only when the CNE level was adjusted by the kurtosis metric.

Source: Fuente, A., Qiu, W., Zhang, M., Xie, H., Kardous, C. A., Campo, P. et Morata, T. C. (2018). The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 143(3), 1704-1710.
https://doi.org/10.1121/1.5028368

Cardiovascular conditions, hearing difficulty, and occupational noise exposure within US industries and occupations

Background: The purpose of this study was to estimate the prevalence of occupational noise exposure, hearing difficulty and cardiovascular conditions within US industries and occupations, and to examine any associations of these outcomes with occupational noise exposure.
Methods: National Health Interview Survey data from 2014 were examined. Weighted prevalence and adjusted prevalence ratios of self-reported hearing difficulty, hypertension, elevated cholesterol, and coronary heart disease or stroke were estimated by level of occupational noise exposure, industry, and occupation.
Results: Twenty-five percent of current workers had a history of occupational noise exposure (14% exposed in the last year), 12% had hearing difficulty, 24% had hypertension, 28% had elevated cholesterol; 58%, 14%, and 9% of these cases can be attributed to occupational noise exposure, respectively.
Conclusions: Hypertension, elevated cholesterol, and hearing difficulty are more prevalent among noise-exposed workers. Reducing workplace noise levels is critical. Workplace-based health and wellness programs should also be considered.

Source: Kerns, E., Masterson, E. A., Themann, C. L. et Calvert, G. M. (2018). American journal of industrial medicine.
https://doi.org/10.1002/ajim.22833

Preventing Hearing Loss Caused by Chemical (Ototoxicity) and Noise Exposure

Millions of workers are exposed to noise in the workplace every day and when uncontrolled, noise exposure may cause permanent hearing loss. Research demonstrates exposure to certain chemicals, called ototoxicants, may cause hearing loss or balance problems, regardless of noise exposure. Substances including certain pesticides, solvents, and pharmaceuticals that contain ototoxicants can negatively affect how the ear functions, causing hearing loss, and/or affect balance. The risk of hearing loss is increased when workers are exposed to these chemicals while working around elevated noise levels. This combination often results in hearing loss that can be temporary or permanent, depending on the level of noise, the dose of the chemical, and the duration of the exposure. This hearing impairment affects many occupations and industries, from machinists to firefighters.

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2018-124/

Prevalence of hearing loss among noise-exposed workers within the agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting sector, 2003-2012

Background: The purpose of this study was to estimate the prevalence of hearing loss among noise-exposed US workers within the Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting (AFFH) sector.
Methods: Audiograms for 1.4 million workers (17 299 within AFFH) from 2003 to 2012 were examined. Prevalence, and the adjusted risk for hearing loss as compared with the reference industry (Couriers and Messengers), were estimated.
Results: The overall AFFH sector prevalence was 15% compared to 19% for all industries combined, but many of the AFFH sub-sectors exceeded the overall prevalence. Forestry sub-sector prevalences were highest with Forest Nurseries and Gathering of Forest Products at 36% and Timber Tract Operations at 22%. The Aquaculture sub-sector had the highest adjusted risk of all AFFH sub-sectors (PR = 1.70; CI = 1.42-2.04).
Conclusions: High risk industries within the AFFH sector need continued hearing conservation efforts. Barriers to hearing loss prevention and early detection of hearing loss need to be recognized and addressed.

Source: Masterson, E. A., Themann, C. L., & Calvert, G. M. (2018). American journal of industrial medicine, 61(1), 42-50.
https://doi.org/10.1002/ajim.22792
 

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

ASTM E1374 - Standard Guide for Office Acoustics and Applicable ASTM Standards

This guide is intended for the use of architects, engineers, office managers, and others interested in designing, specifying, or operating office environments.
It is not intended to be applied to other environments, for example, open plan schools.
While this guide attempts to clarify the many interacting variables that influence acoustical performance, it is not intended to supplant the experience and judgment of experts in the field of acoustics. Competent technical advice should be sought for success in the design of offices, including comparisons of test results carried out according to ASTM standards.
This guide discusses the principles and interactions that affect the acoustical performance of open and closed offices. It describes the application and use of the relevant series of ASTM standards.

Source: https://www.astm.org/Standards/E1374.htm

Sound Advice: a Guide to Hearing Conservation Programs

Noise is a serious and widespread problem in many workplaces. Over time, if noise from machinery, processes, and equipment is too loud it can cause permanent hearing loss in workers. But occupational hearing loss ca be prevented if employers, supervisors, workers, and WokSafe BC work together to control noise exposure.
The most effective way to do that - and to protect workers hearing- is to implement a noise control and hearing conservation program. Such a program is required whenever noise is above regulated limits.

Source: https://www.worksafebc.com/en/resources/health-safety/books-guides/sound-advice-a-guide-to-hearing-conservation-programs

Occupational Noise Exposure and the Risk for Work-Related Injury

A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
Objectives: Occupational noise exposure has been linked to work-related injuries. Strategies to control occupational hazards often rely on dose-response relationships needed to inform policy, but quantitative synthesis of the relevant literature has not been done so far. This study aimed to systematically review the epidemiological literature and to perform meta-analysis of the risk for work-related injury due to occupational noise exposure.
Methods: PRISMA and MOOSE guidelines were followed. PubMed, ScienceDirect, and Google Scholar were searched up until 15 December 2016 in English, Russian, and Spanish. Reference lists, grey literature, and expert archives were searched as well. The risk of bias was assessed for each study and incorporated into the meta-analysis weights using the quality effects model.
Results: Overall, 21 studies were included at the qualitative review stage: 9 cross-sectional, 6 case-control, 4 cohort, 1 case-crossover, and 1 ecological. Noise exposure was assessed objectively in 13 studies. Information on occupational injuries was elicited from medical records/registry in 13 studies. Meta-analyses showed RR = 1.22 (95% CI: 1.15, 1.29) (n = 59028) per 5 dB increase in noise exposure (Cochran's Q = 27.26, P < 0.001, I2 = 67%) and RR = 2.16 (95% CI: 1.61, 2.90) (n = 96023) in the most exposed group (>90–95 dB) compared with the least exposed group (Cochran's Q = 180.46, P < 0.001, I2 = 90%). Subgroup analysis with meta-regression revealed an overall robust pooled risk per 5 dB.
Conclusions: There is a dose-response association between occupational noise exposure and work-related injury risk. However, the quality of evidence is ‘very low'; therefore, the magnitude of this association should be interpreted with caution.

Source: Dzhambov, A., & Dimitrova, D. (2017). Annals of work exposures and health, 61(9), 1037-1053.
https://doi.org/10.1093/annweh/wxx078

Hearing loss associated with repeated MRI acquisition procedure-related acoustic noise exposure

An occupational cohort study
Objective: To study the effects of repeated exposure to MRI-related acoustic noise during image acquisition procedures (scans) on hearing.
Methods: A retrospective occupational cohort study was performed among workers of an MRI manufacturing facility (n=474). Longitudinal audiometry data from the facility's medical surveillance scheme collected from 1973 to 2010 were analysed by studying the association of cumulative exposure to MRI-related acoustic noise from voluntary (multiple) MRI scans and the hearing threshold of the volunteer.
Results: Repeated acoustic noise exposure during volunteer MRI scans was found to be associated with a small exposure-dependent increased rate change of hearing threshold level (dB/year), but the association was only found related to the number of voluntary MRI scans and not to modelled cumulative noise exposure (dB*hour) based on MRI-system type. The increased rate change of hearing threshold level was found to be statistically significant for the frequencies 500, 1000, 2000, 3000 and 4000 Hz in the right ear.
Conclusions: From our longitudinal cohort study, it appeared that exposure to noise from voluntarily MRI scans may have resulted in a slight amount of hearing loss. Mandatory use of hearing protection might have prevented more severe hearing loss. Lack of consistency in findings between the left and right ears and between the two exposure measures prohibits definitive conclusions. Further research that addresses the study's methodological limitations is warranted to corroborate our findings.

Source: Bongers, S., Slottje, P. et Kromhout, H. (2017). Occup Environ Med.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/oemed-2016-103750

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