An Indian study shows alarming signs of noise-induced hearing (NIHL) among Indian workers, especially among forging workers.
Over 90% of workers engaged in various processes in the casting and forging industry showed signs of hearing loss in the noise-sensitive medium and higher frequencies. Occupation was significantly associated with noise-induced hearing loss, and hearing loss was particularly high among the workers in forging sections.
Occupational noise exposure and noise-induced hearing loss has been recognised as a problem among workers in Indian industries.
Iron and steel enterprises
The objective of the study was to determine the prevalence of permanent hearing threshold shift among the workers engaged in Indian medium- and small-sized iron and steel enterprises.
As a part of a hearing protection intervention, audiometric tests were conducted at low (250-1000 Hz), medium (1500-3000 Hz), and high (4000-8000 Hz) frequencies. The occurrence of hearing loss was determined based on hearing threshold levels of 25 dB.
The analysis revealed a higher prevalence of significant hearing loss among the forging workers compared to the workers associated with other activities.
The authors suggest that the occupational exposure to noise could be minimised by efficient control measures through engineering controls, administrative controls, and the use of personal protective devices. But they are also aware that the application of engineering and/or administrative controls is frequently not feasible in the developing countries for technical and financial reasons.