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Occupational Hearing Loss Surveillance

May 2013
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2013-130
Small image of Publication number 2013-130

Occupational hearing loss (OHL) may occur when workers are exposed to loud noise and/or ototoxic chemicals such as heavy metals, organic solvents, and asphyxiants. Approximately 22 million workers in the United States are exposed to hazardous noise each year, of whom 18% have hearing loss. Surveillance is vital for preventing OHL. The establishment of prevalence and incidence estimates of hearing loss within industries is made possible through surveillance. It also enables researchers and others to identify high-risk groups, guide prevention and research efforts, and evaluate the success or failure of interventions.