Noise and Occupational Hearing Loss

Research and Programs

As the federal research agency tasked with developing and promoting best practices for the prevention of occupational hearing loss, NIOSH has multiple activities designed to protect worker hearing. These activities occur across NIOSH and include conducting surveillance, carrying out basic and applied research, developing practical solutions, recommending best practices, and disseminating information to employers, workers, and health and safety professionals. The following research programs enhance and support NIOSH’s work in hearing loss prevention.

National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Hearing Loss Prevention Cross-Sector Council

The NORA Hearing Loss Prevention Cross-Sector Council brings together partners from government, industry, academia, worker organizations, and professional associations to share information, form partnerships, and promote adoption and dissemination of best practices in hearing loss prevention. Site includes the Council’s membership, research agenda, and reports of its quarterly meetings.

The NIOSH Hearing Loss Prevention Cross-Sector Research Program

This Program consists of a focused plan including research, prevention, and communication to reduce the prevalence of occupational hearing loss. Site includes description of priority areas, program goals, and recent impacts.

Occupational Hearing Loss Surveillance Program

The Occupational Hearing Loss Surveillance Program performs national surveillance for this common occupational illness. NIOSH researchers collect and analyze audiometric data for noise-exposed workers, as well as other data sources. Site includes statistics, datasets, and information on how to partner with NIOSH.

Buy Quiet Initiative

The NIOSH Buy Quiet initiative encourages business owners to prevent hazardous noise exposures by creating Buy Quiet policies in their workplace. Site includes guidelines for establishing a Buy Quiet program as well as tools and resources for getting started.

NIOSH Mining Program – Hearing Loss Prevention

NIOSH has a dedicated research program to address noise-induced hearing loss in all areas of the mining industry, including both surface and underground mines for all commodities. Site includes statistics, research efforts, and tools and resources for the mining industry.

NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluation Program

The NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) Program helps workers, unions, and employers learn whether health hazards, including noise, are present at their workplace and recommends ways to reduce hazards and prevent work-related illness. Evaluations are done at no cost to the workers, unions, or employers. Site includes information on requesting an HHE, reports of completed HHEs relevant to noise exposure, and a noise measurement database.