NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search
Noise exposure and hearing disorders.
Morata-TC; Byrne-DC; Rabinowitz-PM
Occupational and environmental health: recognizing and preventing disease and injury, 6th edition. Levy BS, Wegman DH, Baron SL, Sokas RK, eds. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011 Jan; :461-475
Exposure to unwanted sounds, or noise, is a common on-the-job occurrence. An unfortunate consequence is work-related hearing loss, a condition which has been listed as one of the most prevalent occupational health concerns in the United States for more than 25 years. Hearing loss can be a seriously disabling condition due to the integral role of hearing in human communication. Hearing-impaired individuals often avoid situations in which communication is difficult, rather than risking a misunderstanding and potentially embarrassing mistakes. This tendency leads to isolation, difficulties at work, and possibly adverse psychological consequences. The following scenarios illustrate difficulties associated with noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL): 1. Going to restaurants, parties, or other social gatherings becomes a chore, since background noise or music makes conversation difficult, if not impossible. 2. Watching television requires the volume to be set very loud, making it irritating or annoying for the rest of the family to be in the same room. 3. Working in noisy environments can make communication difficult and increase the risk of workplace injuries due to an inability to hear environmental sounds and warning signals. 4. Dealing with tinnitus (the perception of sound in the absence of external acoustic stimuli) becomes an unexpected consequence for some, who expected a hearing loss to result in silence, not an ever-present ringing in their ears. Greater awareness and improved noise-control strategies are needed for the prevention of these hearing disorders.
Hearing-disorders; Hearing-loss; Noise-induced-hearing-loss; Noise-levels; Noise-exposure; Occupational-exposure; Occupational-hazards; Occupational-health; Disabled-workers; Workers; Worker-health; Psychological-disorders; Psychological-effects
Levy-BS; Wegman-DH; Baron-SL; Sokas-RK
Occupational and environmental health: recognizing and preventing disease and injury, 6th edition
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division