The Harm from Noise

By Pallavi Bharadwaj

Workplace noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is among the most common type of NIHL in the United States, among other countries. In the U.S., 30 million workers are estimated to be at risk for NIHL, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Austrian researchers recently presented a study titled “Early prognosis of noise-induced hearing loss”  recently in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine. 

It has long been assumed that some individuals are more vulnerable to occupational NIHL than others because of the wide variation in hearing loss after equivalent exposures. Earlier attempts to define predictors of workplace NIHL susceptibility have been inconclusive. Recently in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine, Austrian researchers presented a study titled “Early prognosis of noise-induced hearing loss” that evaluated the potential of temporary threshold shift (TTS) to predict future NIHL.

Between 1982 and 1989, 311 participants (welders and fitters) were included in a prospective study during their initial health screening visit. At this occasion, a standardized noise exposure was applied: 20 minutes at frequencies of 200 to 500 hertz (Hz) and at a volume of 100 dBA. The TTS at 4 kilohertz (kHz) was determined during at least 10 minutes after exposure. Hearing loss was monitored at follow-up visits every three to five years, averaging 13 years in total.

The Austrian researchers say the temporary threshold shift (TTS) model can be successfully applied as a method to detect individuals at greater risk of workplace NIHL. It is recommended to routinely include such a procedure into initial workers’ examinations for suitability to work under occupational noise conditions and for counseling on the use of hearing protection.

Read the abstract here.

To learn more about workplace noises see:       

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