Palmer, Keith T., Coggon, David, Syddall, Holly E., Pannett, Brian and Griffin, Michael J.
Occupational exposure to noise and hearing difficulties in Great Britain,
Suffolk, England, Health & Safety Executive Books, 61pp.
(Contract Research Report, 361).
Full text not available from this repository.
The objectives of this research were to determine the prevalence of self-reported hearing difficulties and tinnitus in working-aged people from the general population, and to estimate the risks from occupational exposure to noise and the number of attributable cases nationally.
A questionnaire was mailed to 22 194 adults of working age selected at random from the age-sex registers of 34 British general practices (21 201 subjects) and from the central pay records of the British armed services (993 subjects). Information was collected on years of employment in a noisy job; and whether the respondent wore a hearing aid, had difficulty in hearing conversation, or had persistent tinnitus over the past year.
Some 2% of subjects reported severe hearing difficulties (wearing a hearing aid or having great difficulty in both ears on hearing conversation in a quiet room). In men, the prevalence of this outcome rose steeply with age, from below 1% in those aged 16-24 years to 8% in those aged 55-64. The pattern was similar in women, but with severe hearing loss was only about half as prevalent in the oldest age band. In both sexes, after adjustment for age, the risk of severe hearing difficulty and persistent tinnitus rose with years spent in a noisy job.
In conclusion, significant hearing difficulties and tinnitus are quite common in men from the older working age range. Both are strongly associated with years spent in a noisy occupation - predominantly male exposure. The national burden of hearing difficulties attributable to noise at work is substantial.
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