A study has found that occupational noise exposure in the agricultural industry and in the construction industry results in high levels of hearing difficulties. Levels of tinnitus were greatest for the music and construction industries.
The study showed that occupational noise exposure partially accounted for higher levels of hearing difficulties in the agricultural industry compared with finance and that occupational noise exposure, older age, low socioeconomic status and non-white ethnic background partially accounted for higher levels of hearing difficulties in the construction industry.
The levels of tinnitus were greatest for the music and construction industries compared with finance. These differences were accounted for by occupational and music noise exposure as well as older age.
Aim of the study
The aim of the study was to determine to what extent differences in levels of hearing difficulties and tinnitus in high-risk industries (construction, agricultural and music) compared with low-risk industries (finance) could be attributable to demographic, health and lifestyle factors, rather than occupational noise exposure.
Facts about the study
The participants in the study were found by using a sample drawn from the U.K. Biobank resource for epidemiology, which contains data for more than 500,000 persons aged 40 to 69 years across England, Scotland and Wales.
Hearing was tested by using a digits-in-noise test, which is a test of speech recognition in background noise. Tinnitus was identified based on self-report.
The study, “Hearing Difficulties and Tinnitus in Construction, Agricultural, Music, and Finance Industries: Contributions of Demographic, Health, and Lifestyle Factors”, was published in the journal Trends in Hearing.
Sources: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov and the journal Trends in Hearing