Prevalence of Middle Ear Disorders in Coal Miners

June 1981
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 81-101

The prevalence of middle and external ear disorders was investigated in underground coal mine workers (SIC-12). Five hundred male subjects received audiograms, Emittance tests, speech discrimination tests, an otolaryngological examination, and completed a detailed questionnaire relating to job history, military service, noise exposure, and medical history. Of the 500 subjects, 350 were underground miners and 150 were nonminers used as comparisons. No difference was seen between the miners and comparison subjects in the prevalence of middle ear disorders, however abraded external auditory canals, impacted cerumen, and cotton in external canals were found among the miners due to improper ear cleaning methods. The authors recommend that ear hygiene practices among mine workers be studied.