OCCUPATIONAL HEARING LOSS (OHL) SURVEILLANCE

Services (including Public Safety) Statistics

Noise Exposure1 and Hearing Protection2

  • Approximately 11-34% of all workers in Services (21% overall) have been exposed to hazardous noise, depending on sub-sector. Sub-sectors with the highest percentage exposed were:
    • Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation (34%)
    • Public Administration (including Public Safety) (28%)
    • Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation (28%)
  • 22-56% of noise-exposed Services workers report not wearing hearing protection, depending on sub-sector. The sub-sectors with the most workers were:
    • Educational Services (56%)
    • Other Services (55%)
    • Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (54%)
    • Repair and Maintenance (43%)

Hearing Loss and Tinnitus

  • Approximately 8-15% of all Services workers (10% overall) have hearing difficulty, depending on sub-sector.1
  • About 6-10% of all Services workers have tinnitus, depending on sub-sector.3
  • About 20% of noise-exposed tested Services workers have a material hearing impairment.4 Hearing impairment is hearing loss that impacts day-to-day activities.
  • 13% of noise-exposed tested Services workers have hearing impairment in both ears.5

Trends Among Noise-Exposed Tested Services Workers (1981-2010)4

  • The prevalence for Services decreased less than 1% over 30 years (1981-2010) as compared with a less than 1% reduction for all industries.
  • The incidence for Services decreased 1% over 25 years (1986-2010) as compared with a 2% reduction for all industries.
  • The adjusted risk for Services decreased 42% over 25 years (1986-2010) as compared with a 46% reduction for all industries.

Sources:

  1. Kerns E, Masterson EA, Themann CL, Calvert GM. (2018). Cardiovascular conditions, hearing difficulty and occupational noise exposure within U.S. industries and occupations. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 61, 477-491.
  2. Tak S, Davis RR, Calvert GM. (2009). Exposure to hazardous workplace noise and use of hearing protection devices among US workers — NHANES, 1999-2004. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 52(5):358-371.
  3. Masterson EA, Themann CL, Luckhaupt SE, Li J. & Calvert GM. (2016). Hearing difficulty and tinnitus among U.S. workers and non-workers in 2007. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 59, 290-300.
  4. Masterson EA, Deddens JA, Themann CL, Bertke S. & Calvert GM. (2015). Trends in worker hearing loss by industry sector, 1981-2010. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 58, 392-401.
  5. Masterson EA, Bushnell PT, Themann CL, & Morata TC. (2016). Hearing impairment among noise-exposed workers — United States, 2003–2012. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 65(15), 389-394.
Page last reviewed: May 30, 2018