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The workers in many third world countries work without the protection of work place regulations and noise limits known in more advanced, industrial societies. They work in noisy environments without ear protection and suffer severe consequences, according to a Nigerian study. The study found that 80% of the employees in a textile manufacturing plant in the capital of Lagos suffered from hearing loss.

Like most noise-induced hearing loss, the hearing threshold among the Nigerian workers was most severely affected in the high sound frequencies. 204 randomly selected employees in the manufacturing plant were screened. Those most exposed to high noise levels among them worked without protection in noise levels of about 90 dB, markedly above the upper level of 85 dB recommended by the World Health Organization, WHO.

The study further reflected the strong variations among employee groups. In the administrative offices 3% of the employees suffered from hearing loss, whereas in some parts of the production facilities the prevalence of hearing loss was 85%.

It is not clear from the study if the noise and hearing loss problems reflect the general conditions nationwide in the Nigerian industry.

Source: The Nigerian postgraduate medical journal, 2000; 7:104-11

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