Hearing Loss Prevention Program
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Hearing Loss Prevention (HLP) program focuses on reducing the risk of occupational hearing loss. The program conducts research in noise control engineering, use of hearing protection devices and surveillance. The HLP program works with partners in industry, labor, trade associations, professional organizations, and academia.
- Develop and evaluate engineering and administrative controls to reduce worker exposure to hazardous noise levels.
- Conduct surveillance of occupational hearing loss to identify occupations at increased risk and monitor progress in prevention.
- Promote evidence-based best practices for work-related hearing loss prevention by developing NIOSH communication products, including guidelines and criteria documents.
- Advance hearing protector and fit-testing technology to ensure workers are protected when engineering or administrative controls have not yet been implemented or do not reduce noise to safe levels.
- Identify, characterize, and reduce risk factors associated with occupational hearing loss, especially noise that is intermittent and impulsive (e.g., explosions, collisions or impacts) exposures that present greater risk.
- Conducted workshops on hearing protector fit-testing technologies at the 2019 National Hearing Conservation Association meeting and 2019 Elko Mining Expo.
- Published several chapters in the American Industrial Hygiene Association Noise Manual 6th Edition about ototoxic exposures, brief high-level sounds, and instrumentation and measurements.
- Tested hearing for more than 200 wildland fire fighters throughout the 2019 fire season with the U.S. Forest Service to evaluate risks and develop better hearing loss prevention training for firefighters.
- Published age-adjustment tables that describe changes in hearing as a function of normal aging effects.
- Helped develop a new American National Standard to test the ability to understand speech when wearing hearing protection.
- Published estimates of the percent of persons with hearing loss and the need to conserve worker hearing in the Mining and Oil & Gas Extraction Sectors.
- Spearheaded World Hearing Day 2019 Wikipedia Campaign to expand information on Hearing Loss Prevention reaching more than 2.8 million readers.
- Organized and published the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America Noise Induced Hearing Loss: Translating Risk from Animal Models to Real World Environments. This dedicated issue reviewed occupational noise exposure and hearing loss, acoustics of indoor and outdoor firing ranges, and prevalence of acoustic reflex in humans.
- Organized an international NIOSH meeting in Plattsburgh, NY about methods to assess auditory damage due to impulse noise.
- Released the Spanish language version of the NIOSH Sound Level Meter app for iOS
- Provide best practice recommendations for integrating fit testing into hearing loss prevention programs on a new NIOSH topic web page for Hearing Protector Fit Testing.
- Organize outreach activities for the International Year of Sound 2020 to add information to Wikipedia for Acoustics with an emphasis on Hearing Loss Prevention.
- Publish US Army technical reports about the pervasiveness and measurement of the acoustic reflex in normal hearing persons.
- Revise acoustic standards for measuring impulse noise performance of hearing protection devices (ANSI S12.42) and measurement of speech intelligibility (ANSI S3.2).
Mention of any company or product does not constitute endorsement by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Hearing Loss Prevention Program provides leadership to reduce the prevalence of occupational hearing loss. This snapshot shows recent accomplishments and upcoming projects.
Source: Generated from Lawson et al. 2019 results.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
This year has been designated as the International Year of Sound. CDC and NIOSH are co-sponsors of the Wiki4YearofSound2020 effort to expand knowledge about acoustics, hearing loss prevention and noise control engineering
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