27 February 2020

Working as a preschool teacher puts your hearing at risk

Working in a preschool significantly increases the risk of hearing related problems, including increased risk of tinnitus and hearing loss, a Swedish study finds.

A Swedish study has found that working as a preschool teacher increases the risk of tinnitus, hearing loss, hyperacusis, difficulty perceiving speech and sound-induced auditory fatigue.

The study analysed women aged 24 to 65 and consisted of 4,718 preschool teachers and 4,122 in a control group.

Significantly increased risk

The main result of the study was a significantly increased risk of hearing-related symptoms among preschool teachers compared to the control group.

The study found a 60% increased risk of hearing loss (1.6 risk ratio) and 70% increased risk of tinnitus (1.7 risk ratio). The risk of having difficulty perceiving speech was nearly two-fold (1.9 risk ration) among preschool teachers. The risk of having hyperacusis and sound-induced auditory fatigue was more than twice as high with risk ratios among preschool teachers of 2.3 and 2.4 respectively compared to the control group.

Little use of hearing protection

The study also found that 75% of the preschool teachers reported having to raise their voice due to noise at work, compared to 29% in the control group. Despite this, fewer preschool teachers reported use of hearing protection at work.

The study “Working in preschool increases the risk of hearing-related symptoms: a cohort study among Swedish women” was published in the International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health.

Sources: www.nibi.nlm.nih.gov and International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health


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