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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 14-18

Prevalence, awareness, and preventive practices of noise-induced hearing loss in a plywood industry

Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Yenepoya Medical College, Deralakatte, Mangalore, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Mukesh Edward
Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Yenepoya Medical College, Deralakatte, Mangalore - 575 018, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0971-7749.176569

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Introduction: Noise exposure is the most common preventable cause of occupational noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL); however, once acquired, it is irreversible. The predominant damage occurs to the hair cells and their associated nerves leading to the hearing loss. Objective: To determine the prevalence and also to evaluate the awareness and practices regarding prevention of occupational NIHL in the selected industry, to emphasize the critical importance of educating industry workers regarding NIHL and its prevention. Methodology: All staff working in the selected plywood industry excluding the ones with chronic otitis media were included. Relevant history, demographics, and clinical data were collected using prestructured questionnaire based proforma. All of them underwent pure tone audiometry. Results: Of 111 workers who were exposed to noise, 51.85% had NIHL, the average ambient noise being 80.5 dB. The most common complaints in workers with NIHL was hearing loss (52.6%), difficulty in hearing in noisy surroundings (43.9%), and difficulty in telephonic conversations (38.6%). There was a significant number (47.4%) who were asymptomatic. The majority had mild (56.1%) and moderate (38.6%) hearing loss. Majority of them with NIHL belonged to the age group of 30–60 years. This study showed a positive correlation between duration of noise exposure and degree of hearing loss. No one has ever used any sort of ear protection devices nor aware of health effects associated with noise exposure and its prevention. Conclusion: Considering zero awareness, screening, education, and prevention methods are emphasized to reduce the impact of noise exposure at workplace.

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