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NIOSH - National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
NIOSH Hearing Loss Research Program Review NIOSH Publications on Noise and Hearing The National Academies - Advisors to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine

What is the Hearing Loss Program

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Impact Summary

Although our program outputs represent the initial results of the research, we must often rely on the activities of other organizations to assure the transfer of knowledge to the workplace where it can prevent illnesses and injuries. The customers who use the outputs of the HLR program are as varied as the industries and occupations to which the research applies and include many of the external partners mentioned above. The HLR program has active collaborations with sister agencies like the MSHA, the OSHA, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who use or could use program outputs for regulatory actions. HLR program outputs are also used by non-regulatory sister agencies such as the DOD and the Federal Railway Administration. Private, voluntary standards-setting organizations such as the ANSI and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) have used our research outputs in their deliberations. HLR program scientists frequently serve on standards-setting committees of such organizations, providing expertise and an opportunity to disseminate HLR program research findings and recommendations.

Employers and labor organizations have used HLR program outputs. One example is the United Brotherhood of Carpenters’ (UBC) use of training methods and curriculum content developed by NIOSH. Another is a mining equipment manufacturer’s adoption of plastic-coated flight bars for continuous mining machines. The bars significantly reduce the noise generated by the machine. The bars were jointly developed by the HLR program and industry. We did both laboratory and field evaluations of the coated bars.

NIOSH HLR Program Publications

      Figure 2.5
Evidence of the use of HLR outputs by others is evidence of our contribution to intermediate outcomes. Figures 2.5 through 2.9 illustrate some of the extent to which those outputs are requested by the public. Figure 2.5 shows that NIOSH-numbered publications from the HLR program have resulted in an average of nearly 1200 requests per year and about 8350 copies disseminated per year.


Figure 2.6 shows the distribution of selected publications by the type of requestor. Most requests for nearly every document are from industry sources (e.g., employers). Note that foreign requests are also numerous, reflecting the international influence of the program.

Figure 2.6

Number of Requestors of NIOSH materials












A = Hearing Protection Device Compendium (1995)

B = Preventing Occupational Hearing Loss - A Practical Guide (1996)

C = Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Occupational Noise Exposure (1998)

D = Health Hazard Evaluations: Noise and Hearing Loss 1986-1997 (1999)

E = Hearing Loss Publications (2001)

F = Work-Related Hearing Loss (fact sheet) (2001)

G = General Estimates of Work-Related Noises (poster) (2001)

H = Best Practices in Hearing Loss Prevention (2001) 


Figure 2.7 shows that telephone requests for information on hearing loss topics to the NIOSH technical information 800 number average more than one a day (the number operates five days per week). These calls are answered by technical information specialists who rely on the HLR program’s research, and sometimes the researchers themselves, to answer questions.

800 Number Technical Information Line

Figure 2.7

Like the publications, most calls are from employers or other representatives of industry, although usually callers are not asked for any identifying information (Figure 2.8).

Figure 2.8

Calls to 800# by Type of Caller


Figure 2.9 shows the number of visits to the NIOSH hearing loss Web page and seven different NIOSH hearing-loss-related documents that are available from the NIOSH home page over the last two and one half years. Note that the on line visits to some of the most important documents from the HLR program, particularly the “Criteria Document of 1998” and the “Practical Guide of 1996,” continue at a steady and significant number, even though it is many years past their publication date. This shows that the information provided in these products has lasting value.  We cannot compare these numbers to those that may have existed in the first years after the publication of those documents because the tracking records for printed distribution are not available and the web site topic page did not exist. More information about requests for program products is provided
in later sections of this report. 

HLR Website Statistics

Figure 2.9

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