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Prevalence of Hearing Loss Among Noise-Exposed Workers Within the Health Care and Social Assistance Sector, 2003 to 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: April 2018 - Volume 60 - Issue 4 - p 350–356
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001214
Original Articles

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

Methods: Audiograms for 1.4 million workers (8702 within HSA) from 2003 to 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 subsector and the Offices of All Other Miscellaneous Health Practitioners subsector were 31% and 24%, respectively. The Child Day Care Services subsector had a 52% higher risk than the reference industry.

Conclusion: 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.

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, OH 45226 (

This is U.S. government research completed at NIOSH/CDC.

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.

The authors have no conflicts of interest.

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