15 April 2020

Working in mining and in oil and gas extraction increases the risk of hearing loss

There is a high prevalence of hearing loss in the mining sector and in some subsectors within oil and gas extraction, an American study finds.

An American study has found that that the prevalence of hearing loss in the mining sector was 24% and the prevalence in oil and gas extraction was 14%. This is compared to a prevalence of hearing loss of 16% for all industries combined.

The prevalence in many mining subsectors and in the oil and gas extraction subsector exceeded the average prevalence and most had an adjusted risk of hearing loss significantly greater than the reference industry.

Sectors with the highest prevalence

The five subsectors in the study with the highest prevalence of hearing loss were construction sand and gravel mining (36%), uranium‐radium‐vanadium ore mining (31%), bituminous coal and lignite surface mining (28%), iron ore mining (27%) and copper ore and nickel ore mining (24%).

Highest risk sectors

The five mining subsectors with the highest adjusted risks compared to the reference industry were support activities for coal mining, gold ore mining, all other nonmetallic mineral mining, bituminous coal and lignite surface mining and construction sand and gravel mining.

Many seniors with hearing loss

In the study, the prevalence of hearing loss increased with age both in the mining sector and in the oil and gas extraction sector. In the mining sector, more than 53% of those aged 56 to 65 had a hearing loss and in the age group of 66 to 75 more than 68% had a hearing loss. In the oil and gas extraction sector, nearly 47% of those between 56 and 65 had a hearing loss. There were no figures for the age group 66 to 75 in the oil and gas extraction sector.

About the study

The purpose of the study was to estimate the prevalence of hearing loss among noise‐exposed US workers within the mining and oil and gas extraction sectors. Audiograms of 1.9 million workers across all industries (including 9,389 in mining and 1,076 in oil and gas extraction sectors) from 2006 to 2015 were examined.

The study “Prevalence of hearing loss among noise‐exposed workers within the mining and oil and gas extraction sectors, 2006‐2015” was published in American Journal of industrial Medicine.

Sources: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov and American Journal of Industrial Medicine

 

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