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Health hazard evaluation report: evaluation of a surgical staff's noise exposures during total knee replacement surgeries.

Broadwater KR; Brueck SE
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, HHE 2014-0154-3275, 2017 Mar; :1-23
The Health Hazard Evaluation Program received a request from employer representatives at a hospital. They were concerned about the potential for noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) among operating room employees performing total knee replacement surgeries. We visited the hospital to observe total knee replacement surgeries, learn more about the equipment and tools used, and measure noise exposures of surgical staff. A typical surgical team included a surgical assistant, anesthesiologist, circulating nurse, scrub nurse, surgeon, and, possibly, a surgical fellow. Powered surgical tools were the primary sources of noise in the orthopedic operating room and noise levels were highest during surgical procedures. One surgeon's personal noise exposure exceeded the NIOSH recommended exposure limit on one day we monitored, but all other personal noise exposure measurements were below all occupational exposure limits. On the basis of our noise measurements and our estimates of noise exposures for surgeons, we found that they could be overexposed to noise depending on surgery length, shift length, and number of surgeries in a shift. We recommended including orthopedic surgeons in a hearing loss prevention program, using quieter surgical tools, and providing surgeons with flat attenuation ear plugs or noise cancellation earmuffs.
Region-5; Hospital equipment; Power tools; Surgeons; Surgery; Medical personnel; Hearing loss; Hearing loss prevention; Hearing conservation; Hearing; Hearing impairment; Hearing protection; Noise induced hearing loss; Noise; Noise protection; Health care facilities; Health care personnel; Health care workers; Personal protection; Personal protective equipment; Protective measures; Protective equipment; Ear protection; Ear protectors; Author Keywords: General Medical and Surgical Hospitals; Noise; Surgery; Orthopedic; Knee Surgery; Arthroplasty; Hospital; Hearing Loss
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Field Studies; Health Hazard Evaluation
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: May 11, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division