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      Prevalence and determinants of noise‐induced hearing loss among workers in the automotive industry in China: A pilot study


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          Data on noise‐induced hearing loss (NIHL) in the automotive industry are rare. This pilot study aimed to investigate the prevalence and determinants of NIHL among workers in the automotive industry in China.


          A cross‐sectional survey was conducted with 6557 participants from the automotive industry. The questionnaire survey was administered, and individual noise exposure level (L Aeq.8h) and hearing loss level were measured.


          Of participants, 96.43% were male; the median age was 27.0 years and 28.82% had NIHL defined as adjusted high‐frequency noise‐induced hearing loss (AHFNIHL). Concerning individual noise levels (L Aeq.8h), 62.53% exceeded 85 dB(A), which were mainly concentrated in various jobs, including metal cutting, surface treatment, stamping, welding, grinding, assembly, plastic molding, and forging. Each typical noise source generated its own unique temporal waveform shape with the type of non‐Gaussian noise. Of workers, 53.15% regularly used hearing protector devices (HPD), and the proportion of regular HPD use increased with L Aeq.8h. The trend test showed that the prevalence of AHFNIHL in male workers significantly increased with an increase in L Aeq.8h at <94 dB(A) and cumulative noise exposure (CNE) in each age group ( P < 0.05 or P < 0.01). A logistic regression analysis showed that CNE and HPD usage frequency were important factors contributing to AHFNIHL.


          CNE and HPD usage frequency were the determinants for NIHL. Much more human surveys are needed to understand the prevalence and determinants of NIHL in the automotive industry in China.

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          Most cited references 20

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          Understanding and preventing noise-induced hearing loss.

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            Hearing loss among operating engineers in American construction industry.

             OiSaeng Hong (2005)
            Occupational noise exposure and noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) among construction workers has long been recognized as a problem in the United States, yet little is known about the prevalence of NIHL among American construction workers. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence and characteristics of hearing loss among operating engineers (OEs) who operate heavy construction machinery. As a part of hearing protection intervention, an audiometric test was conducted for both ears at frequencies 0.5 through 8 kHz in the soundproof booth. Prior to the audiometric test, a paper-pencil pre-hearing test questionnaire was administered and an otoscopic examination was completed. Prevalence of hearing loss was determined based on hearing threshold levels (HTLs) in the worst ear with a low fence of 25 dB. A total of 623 workers were included in the analysis and they were predominantly middle-aged Caucasian males (mean age = 43 years, Caucasian = 90%, male = 92%). Over 60% of OEs showed hearing loss in the noise-sensitive higher frequencies of 4 and 6 kHz. The rate of hearing loss was particularly higher among workers who reported longer years of working in the construction industry. Workers showed significantly poorer hearing in the left ear, and a typical characteristic of NIHL, a V-notch at 4 or 6 kHz, was not shown in this population. Thirty-eight percent reported ringing/buzzing in the ear and 62% indicated having problems in understanding what people say in loud noise. Average reported use of hearing protection devices (HPDs) was 48% of the time they were required to be used. Significant inverse relationship was found between higher frequency (4-6 kHz) hearing loss and use of HPDs (r =-0.134, p < 0.001). Workers using HPDs more had significantly better hearing than those who did not. The study demonstrated a significant NIHL problem and low use of HPDs in OEs. An effective hearing conservation program, including a periodic audiometric testing and hearing protection intervention, for this study population should be in place.
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              Do ambient noise exposure levels predict hearing loss in a modern industrial cohort?

              Much of what is known about the exposure-response relationship between occupational noise exposures and hearing loss comes from cross-sectional studies conducted before the widespread implementation of workplace hearing conservation programmes. Little is known about the current relationship of ambient noise exposure measurements to hearing loss risk. To examine the relationship between rates of high frequency hearing loss and measured levels of noise exposure in a modern industrial workforce. Ten-year hearing loss rates were determined for 6217 employees of an aluminium manufacturing company. Industrial hygiene and human resources records allowed for reconstruction of individual noise exposures. Hearing loss rates were compared to ANSI 3.44 predictions based on age and noise exposure. Associations between hearing loss, noise exposure, and covariate risk factors were assessed using multivariate regression. Workers in higher ambient noise jobs tended to experience less high frequency hearing loss than co-workers exposed at lower noise levels. This trend was also seen in stratified analyses of white males and non-hunters. At higher noise exposure levels, the magnitude of hearing loss was less than predicted by ANSI 3.44 formulae. There was no indication that a healthy worker effect could explain these findings. The majority of 10 dB standard threshold shifts (STS) occurred in workers whose calculated ambient noise exposures were less than or equal to 85 dBA. In this modern industrial cohort, hearing conservation efforts appear to be reducing hearing loss rates, especially at higher ambient noise levels. This could be related to differential use of hearing protection. The greatest burden of preventable occupational hearing loss was found in workers whose noise exposure averaged 85 dBA or less. To further reduce rates of occupational hearing loss, hearing conservation programmes may require innovative approaches targeting workers with noise exposures close to 85 dBA.

                Author and article information

                J Occup Health
                J Occup Health
                Journal of Occupational Health
                John Wiley and Sons Inc. (Hoboken )
                10 June 2019
                September 2019
                : 61
                : 5 ( doiID: 10.1002/joh2.v61.5 )
                : 387-397
                [ 1 ] Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention National Institute for Occupational Health and Poison Control Beijing China
                [ 2 ] Zhejiang Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention Hangzhou China
                [ 3 ] Auditory Research Laboratories State University of New York at Plattsburgh Plattsburgh New York
                [ 4 ] Wuhan Prevention and Treatment Center for Occupational Disease Wuhan China
                Author notes
                [* ] Correspondence

                Weijiang Hu, National Institute for Occupational Health and Poison Control, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 29 Nanwei Road, Beijing, China.

                Email: huwj@ 123456niohp.chinacdc.cn

                © 2019 The Authors. Journal of Occupational Health published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of The Japan Society for Occupational Health

                This is an open access article under the terms of the http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.

                Page count
                Figures: 3, Tables: 3, Pages: 11, Words: 7418
                Funded by: Program of Occupational Health Risk Assessment of China NIOHP
                Award ID: 131031109000160004
                Funded by: Key Research and Development Program of Zhejiang Province of China
                Award ID: 2015C03039
                Funded by: Zhejiang Provincial Program for the Cultivation of High‐level Innovative Health Talents
                Original Article
                Custom metadata
                September 2019
                Converter:WILEY_ML3GV2_TO_NLMPMC version:5.6.8 mode:remove_FC converted:03.09.2019


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