Prevalence of Hearing Loss Among Noise-Exposed Workers Within the Health Care and Social Assistance Sector, 2003 to 2012

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Abstract

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.

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