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Manufacturing

NORA Manufacturing Sector Strategic Goals

R018641 - 021H: Daily Exposure Monitoring Intervention to Prevent Hearing Loss (8641)

Start Date: 7/1/2007
End Date: 6/30/2011

Principal Investigator (PI)
Name: Viji Potula
Organization: NIOSH
Sub-Unit: OEP
Funded By: NIOSH

Primary Goal Addressed
4.0

Secondary Goal Addressed
None


Attributed to Manufacturing
50%

Project Description

Short Summary

Effective use of hearing protection is a critical aspect of hearing loss prevention, yet in real world settings, hearing protection effectiveness varies widely. Analysis of hearing loss rates for a large industrial employer (Alcoa) indicates differential usage of hearing protection may account for the majority of occupational hearing

loss cases. There are currently no national guidelines for ensuring correct fit and function of hearing protection, and there is an urgent need to find ways to promote the correct use of hearing protective devices. The results of this study could have major implications for hearing conservation practice, creating important new opportunities for the prevention of noise-induced hearing loss.



Description

Noise-induced hearing loss continues to be one of the most common occupational disorders, even in OSHA compliant workplaces. Prevention of occupational hearing loss is a priority of the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA). The Daily Exposure Monitoring of Noise (DEMON) study is a worksite intervention trial of new technology to reduce occupational noise-induced hearing loss through daily noise exposure monitoring. Noise-exposed workers will be recruited to wear an "Exposure Smart Protector" (ESP) device in place of their customary hearing protection. The ESP device functions as a combined hearing protector and noise dosimeter, measuring a worker's daily noise "dose" as well as peak noise exposures inside of the hearing protectors. Workers receive daily feedback about noise exposures in order to optimize hearing protection usage. Rates of hearing loss occurring in the 200 intervention subjects will be compared to rates in 400 controls who will receive enhanced education and hearing protector fit testing using the FitCheck system. This revised grant submission includes important new preliminary data indicating that the Exposure Smart Protector device is both tolerated by workers for long term use as a form of hearing protection, and also demonstrates potential to reduce occupational noise-induced hearing loss.



Relevance:

Effective use of hearing protection is a critical aspect of hearing loss prevention, yet in real world settings, hearing protection effectiveness varies widely. Analysis of hearing loss rates for a large industrial employer (Alcoa) indicates differential usage of hearing protection may account for the majority of occupational hearing

loss cases. There are currently no national guidelines for ensuring correct fit and function of hearing protection, and there is an urgent need to find ways to promote the correct use of hearing protective devices. The results of this study could have major implications for hearing conservation practice, creating important new opportunities for the prevention of noise-induced hearing loss.



Objectives

The specific aims are:

Aim 1: Determine baseline ambient noise exposures and rates of hearing loss at 2 "intervention" industrial facilities, and 2 "control" facilities.

Aim 2: At two intervention sites, recruit 200 subjects for continuous exposure monitoring (intervention) and 200 controls.

Aim 3: At the two control facilities, recruit 200 additional volunteers working at comparable noise exposure levels to serve as controls.

Aim 4: At intervention sites, implement the daily exposure monitoring intervention. At all sites, provide enhanced training, fit testing, and counseling regarding prevention of noise-induced hearing loss.

Aim 5: Assess usability, comfort, and costs for hearing protectors including the ESP devices.

Aim 6: Use industrial hygiene measurements at study locations to determine exposures to ambient noise as well as potentially ototoxic chemicals for intervention subjects and controls.

Aim 7: Over a period up to four years, compare rates of hearing loss annually between the intervention group and controls. Determine whether any difference persists after adjusting for other factors.

Aim 8: For the 200 intervention subjects with daily noise exposure data, determine the dose response relationship between measured occupational noise exposure and hearing loss over the study period, adjusting for other risk factors as above.



Page last updated: June 3, 2011
Page last reviewed: May 23, 2011
Content Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Office of the Director

 

NIOSH Program:

Manufacturing