Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options
CDC Home

OCCUPATIONAL HEARING LOSS (OHL) SURVEILLANCE

LOGO: Occupational Hearing Loss Surveillance

Facts and Definitions

Scope of the Problem

  • In the United States, hearing loss is the third-most common chronic health condition among older adults after hypertension and arthritis.
  • Over 11% of the U.S. working population has hearing difficulty.
  • About 24% of the hearing difficulty among U.S. workers is caused by occupational exposures.

What causes Occupational Hearing Loss (OHL)?

  • OHL can occur when workers are exposed to loud noise or ototoxic chemicals.
  • Noise is considered loud (hazardous) when it reaches 85 decibels or higher, or if a person has to raise his/her voice to speak with someone 3 feet away (arm’s length).
  • Ototoxic chemicals (and examples) include:
  • organic solvents (styrene, trichloroethylene, mixtures)
  • heavy metals (mercury, lead, trimethyltin)
  • asphyxiants (carbon monoxide, hyrdrogen cyanide)

How Many Workers are Exposed?

  • About 22 million workers are exposed to hazardous noise each year.
  • About 10 million workers are exposed to solvents and an unknown number are exposed to other ototoxicants.

What is OHL Surveillance?

OHL surveillance includes:

  • Collecting worker hearing data, exposure data and related information for analysis;
  • Estimating how many workers have hearing loss or related health outcomes and how many workers are exposed;
  • Examining these estimates by industry and occupation; and
  • Monitoring trends over time.

The NIOSH OHL Surveillance Project commenced to establish a national repository for OHL data, and to conduct surveillance and research of this common occupational illness.

Sign up for Project E-mail Alerts or unsubscribe

 

OHL Surveillance Project

Project Information

Motivation, Description, Status

Leadership

Project Staff, Contact Us

Related Resources

Documents, Web sites

Publications

Peer-reviewed Publications, Newsletter Articles, Fact Sheet

 
Contact Us:
  • Page last reviewed: May 20, 2014
  • Page last updated: May 20, 2014
USA.gov: The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30329-4027, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC-INFO