Tinnitus widespread among teachers

Among male teachers, the occurrence of tinnitus is 84 percent higher than among men in other professions.

Musicians, machinists and industrial workers aren't the only ones suffering from tinnitus. Among male teachers, the occurrence of tinnitus is 84 percent higher than among men in other professions even when age factors are taken into account.

In general, teachers in schools and institutions are hard hit by tinnitus according to a study carried out by the Danish Institute for the Work Environment. The noise, often compounded by bad acoustics in the classroom, causes hearing problems to be prevalent among school teachers. Surprisingly, male teachers are at higher risk of suffering from tinnitus than agricultural workers, abattoir workers and machinists. The study also shows that female teachers as a group are relatively susceptible to tinnitus.

Among the women, teachers in daycare institutions suffer the highest incidence of tinnitus. When corrections are made for age factors the occurrence of tinnitus among nursery school teachers is 1.13 times higher than among women in other common professions.

The relatively wide spread of tinnitus among teachers in schools and other institutions may be connected to the noise in group situations with children where there is no option to use ear protection. The stress from this environment may make the ears vulnerable to noise.

More men than women are affected by tinnitus within all age groups. But as many women as men say that they are greatly affected by their tinnitus. This indicates that women are more noise sensitive than men.

The study was based on responses to almost 6,000 questionnaires among employees and self employed professionals in 1990, 1995 and 2000.

Source: Arbejdsmiljøinstituttet,"Hearing - The Work environment in Denmark 2000", January 2002, Politiken (a Danish daily) and the Danish National Association for Better Hearing, February 2002.

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