Special journal issue highlights the breadth of NIOSH hearing loss prevention research and surveillance

October 16, 2023

CONTACT: Stephanie Stevens, yky0@cdc.gov

WASHINGTON – The journal, Seminars in Hearing, has dedicated a special issue to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)’s hearing loss prevention efforts. Through seven carefully selected articles, the guest editors and authors demonstrate the range of NIOSH activities helping to enhance understanding and reduce the effects of workplace noise and chemical exposures that cause hearing loss.

“We are pleased to announce the publication of the special edition of Seminars in Hearing that shines a light on NIOSH’s efforts to prevent occupational hearing loss,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “This special issue recognizes the dedication of NIOSH researchers to prevent a debilitating work-related illness that impacts millions of workers, and it is our hope it will inspire others to join efforts to protect workers’ hearing.”

Elizabeth Masterson, Ph.D., a research epidemiologist in NIOSH’s Division of Field Studies and Engineering and co-coordinator of the NIOSH Hearing Loss Prevention Cross-Sector Research Program, and William Murphy, Ph.D., CAPT, U.S. Public Health Service (Ret.) and senior scientist at SASRAC served as guest editors of this special issue.

The special issue includes:

  • A paper by Themann et al. provides an in-depth look at the history of occupational hearing loss prevention work at NIOSH, including advancements and interventions resulting from NIOSH research, and the NIOSH resources available to hearing conservationists to improve their efforts.
  • A paper by Peterson and Azman discusses NIOSH’s Hearing Loss Prevention Program in the Mining Sector and outlines the research, methods, and research-based products developed to protect mine workers’ hearing.
  • A paper by Masterson et al. estimates the U.S. average annual workers’ compensation claim cost for occupational hearing loss, the average annual number of occupational hearing loss claims, and identifies the industry/occupation classifications with the highest numbers of claims.
  • A review by Mariotti Roggia et al. scopes the literature, identifies knowledge gaps, appraises results, and synthesizes the evidence on the audiological evaluation of workers exposed to solvents.
  • A study by Gong et al. used a fit-testing system to evaluate earplug performance, including changes in attenuation over time, for workers exposed to hazardous noise.
  • A study by Brueck et al. presents a workplace health hazard evaluation where NIOSH investigators assessed continuous and impact noise exposures and hearing loss among workers at a hammer forge company and provided recommendations.
  • A study by Chiu et al. presents a health hazard evaluation where NIOSH investigators assessed sound levels, employee health symptoms and concerns, and provided recommendations at a workplace near a source of low frequency noise and infrasound (sound with frequency below the range of human hearing).

The articles are published in a special issue of Seminars in Hearing. They are open access so free for all to download.

About Occupational Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is one of the most common work-related illnesses. About 22 million U.S. workers are exposed to hazardous noise each year. Roughly 10 million workers are exposed to solvents and an unknown number are exposed to other chemicals that that are known to contribute to hearing loss. Occupational hearing loss is 100% preventable. For more than 50 years NIOSH has been involved in a range of occupational hearing loss prevention activities including research, surveillance, and research to practice.

The NIOSH Hearing Loss Prevention Research Program conducts research and surveillance supporting key priorities for promoting the prevention of occupational hearing loss. More information is available on Noise and Occupational Hearing Loss and Occupational Hearing Loss Surveillance.

NIOSH is the federal institute that conducts research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. Find more information about NIOSH at www.cdc.gov/niosh.