According to estimates from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 22 million workers across the United States are exposed to potentially damaging levels of noise at work each year. Worldwide, it is estimated that up to 24% of instances of hearing impairment are related to noise exposure in the workplace.
Developer wins this year's Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Award
February 26, 2019
Exposure to loud flight deck operations and noisy equipment takes a toll on U.S. Navy sailors: approximately one in four suffer from Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL).
One man’s innovative and broad-based approach to the problem has earned him this year’s The Safe-in-Sound Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Award.
The multi-tiered program to NIHL among sailors developed by Kurt Yankaskas of the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the NIHL Research Program maximized the use of various funding strategies within Department of the Navy and DoD.
It may seem obvious, but it bears repeating: loud noises can cause permanent hearing loss. And once hearing is gone, you can’t get it back.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) wants to remind people during October – National Protect Your Hearing Month – that noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) can be prevented. According to NIOSH, about 70% of people who are exposed to loud noise never or seldom wear hearing protection.
Most employers are aware that occupational noise has the potential to cause permanent hearing loss in exposed workers. Less well known, and less studied, is the link between occupational noise exposure and tinnitus.
It is estimated that over 22 million workers are exposed to hazardous noise on the job and an additional nine million are at risk for hearing loss from other agents such as solvents and metals.
Currently the U.S. does not have a national surveillance or injury reporting system for hearing loss. The Bureau of Labor Statistics annually reports recorded hearing loss on OSHA Form 300. However, BLS data are not representative of the true magnitude of occupational hearing loss due to several barriers to the reporting system.
Tinnitus has more than one possible cause. For example, more than 200 medications are known to have tinnitus as a side effect. Exposure to bomb blasts is another cause, making tinnitus one of the most common service-related disabilities among combat veterans.
Viruses and blood flow issues can, in rare cases, trigger sudden and profound hearing loss. Research supports the use of hyperbaric oxygen treatments to restore hearing in some patients.
A review of the collected evidence suggests that -- added to standard drug therapy -- hyperbaric oxygen treatment "is the most beneficial treatment option" for what doctors call "sudden sensorineural hearing loss," according to a specialist in hyperbaric medicine at the National Maritime Medical Center in Seoul.
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) among Canadian oil and gas drilling sector workers has increased by 12 per cent, from 33 per cent in 2012 to 45 per cent in 2017, according to hearing-test data collected by employers. Even more alarming: out of the 294 oil and gas drilling workers with NIHL, 194 — 65 per cent — were under the age of 35.