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LOGO: Occupational Hearing Loss Surveillance


Project Description and Status

Project Description

In 2006, the National Academy of Sciences identified the lack of hearing loss surveillance as a key shortcoming of the NIOSH Hearing Loss Prevention Research Program. Surveillance is vital to hearing loss prevention. Surveillance is vital to hearing loss prevention. It makes possible the establishment of estimates for the prevalence and incidence of hearing loss within various industries. Surveillance also enables NIOSH to identify high risk groups, guide prevention and research efforts, and evaluate the success or failure of interventions. Without surveillance data, progress in hearing loss prevention efforts cannot be quantified, nor the need for improvement in these efforts.

In 2009, the NIOSH Occupational Hearing Loss (OHL) Surveillance Project commenced to develop a national surveillance system for OHL. The Project uses a novel approach for data collection by partnering with audiometric service providers to collect de-identified worker audiograms and related data. This approach has allowed NIOSH to collect millions of de-identified audiograms from thousands of workplaces across the United States while protecting the identities of workers, companies and providers. The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is used to classify the industry associated with each audiogram. Data collection, statistical analyses and dissemination of research results are ongoing.


As of 2012, NIOSH has partnered with 16 audiometric service providers and over 8.7 million audiograms with related demographic data have been collected. A national repository for OHL surveillance data continues to grow as more data are received and cleaned.


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