New Study Looks at Construction Workers Hearing Loss

A 30-year study finds that additional efforts are needed within industry to prevent long term damage.

Wed March 11, 2015 - National Edition
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Approximately 22 million U.S. workers are exposed to hazardous noise at work.
Approximately 22 million U.S. workers are exposed to hazardous noise at work.

The Centers for Disease Control is reporting that a new study from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) examines thirty years of hearing loss trends experienced by workers exposed to noise while on the job, across various industries. The study, published by the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, found that while progress has been made in reducing the risk of hearing loss within most industry sectors, additional efforts are needed within the Mining, Construction, and Healthcare and Social Assistance sectors.

Approximately 22 million U.S. workers are exposed to hazardous noise at work. Long-term exposure to hazardous noise, a single instantaneous high noise exposure, or exposure to chemicals that damage hearing (ototoxic chemicals) can cause occupational hearing loss – a job-related illness that is permanent and potentially debilitating, but entirely preventable. This study is the first to look at thirty years of hearing loss trends by industry sector and give a birds-eye view of how workers are affected by hazardous noise environments.

“Looking at hearing loss trends across all industries over a long period of time can provide a better understanding of what still needs to be done for the protection of workers,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “Noise control in the workplace is directly linked to the prevention of hearing loss among workers in all industries and can positively impact workers on the job and at home.”

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