Persistent Post-9/11 Hearing Problems Among World Trade Center Health Registry Rescue and Recovery Workers, 2001 to 2007

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Abstract

Objective:

To examine the association between 9/11-related exposures and self-reported hearing problems among 16,579 rescue/recovery workers in the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Registry.

Methods:

Using Registry Waves 1 (2003 to 2004) and 2 (2006 to 2007), we modeled the association between two metrics of 9/11-related exposures and hearing difficulties.

Results:

The prevalence of incident, persistent hearing problems was 4.4%. In a fully adjusted model, workers with higher environmental hazards scores were twice as likely (interquartile range OR 2.1; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.8, 2.5) to report hearing problems. Based on the same fully adjusted model, workers unable to hear in the dust cloud were 2.3 (95% CI 1.8, 3.0) times more likely to report hearing problems as compared with workers not in the dust cloud.

Conclusions:

We observed a consistent association between WTC-related exposures and self-reported hearing problems among rescue/recovery workers.

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