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Prevalence of Hearing Loss among Noise-Exposed Workers within the Healthcare and Social Assistance Sector, 2003–2012

Masterson, Elizabeth A. PhD, CPH, COHC, NIOSH; Themann, Christa L. MA, CCC-A, NIOSH; Calvert, Geoffrey M. MD, MPH, NIOSH

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: November 3, 2017 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print - Issue - p
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001214
Original Article: PDF Only

Objective: The purpose was to estimate the prevalence of hearing loss for noise-exposed U.S. workers within the Healthcare and Social Assistance (HSA) sector.

Methods: Audiograms for 1.4 million workers (8,702 within HSA) from 2003–2012 were examined. Prevalences and adjusted risks for hearing loss as compared with a reference industry were estimated for the HSA sector and all industries combined.

Results: While the overall HSA sector prevalence for hearing loss was 19%, the prevalences in the Medical Laboratories sub-sector and the Offices of All Other Miscellaneous Health Practitioners sub-sector were 31% and 24%, respectively. The Child Day Care Services sub-sector had a 52% higher risk than the reference industry.

Conclusions: High risk industries for hearing loss exist within the HSA sector. Further work is needed to identify the sources of noise exposure and protect worker hearing.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cincinnati, Ohio, United States (Elizabeth A. Masterson, Christa L. Themann, Geoffrey M. Calvert).

Address correspondence to: Elizabeth A. Masterson, PhD, CPH, COHC, NIOSH, Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1090 Tusculum Avenue, MS-R17, Cincinnati, Ohio 45226 (

Sources of Funding: None declared. This is U.S. government research completed at NIOSH / CDC.

Conflicts of Interest Statement: None declared.

Disclaimer: The findings and conclusions in this article have not been formally disseminated by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and should not be construed to represent any agency determination or policy.

Copyright © 2018 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine