Categories: Hearing Loss
March 25th, 2015 11:09 am ET -
Elizabeth Masterson, PhD, CPH, COHC
It starts with an agency wanting to better protect its workers from hearing loss. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a non-regulatory federal agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce that conducts measurement research, develops technological standards and performs other important functions. NIST was upgrading the hearing conservation program for its 138 noise-exposed workers and wanted its criteria to be based on science. Current Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations were being followed, but the medical officer questioned whether more could be done to protect worker hearing and needed evidence to support changes. NIST contacted the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) via the Occupational Hearing Loss Surveillance Project. NIOSH provided NIST with information and links to documents such as the NIOSH Practical Guide for Preventing Occupational Hearing Loss.
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Categories: Epidemiology, Hearing Loss, Safety and Health Data
December 3rd, 2014 10:46 am ET -
Elizabeth Masterson, PhD, CPH, COHC
Epidemiology is the art and science of using data to answer questions about the health of groups. In occupational epidemiology, we use that data to understand how work affects health. This blog entry is part of a series that shares the stories behind the data.
Hearing loss is one of the most common chronic health conditions in the United States. Among older adults, it is third after high blood pressure and arthritis. Nearly 1 in 4 cases of hearing loss among workers is caused by exposures on the job. These exposures include loud noise and chemicals that can damage hearing, such as organic solvents, heavy metals and asphyxiants.
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Categories: Hearing Loss, Manufacturing
November 21st, 2014 7:28 am ET -
Christa L. Themann, MA, CCC-A
Recently, a study by Dr. Hanns Moshammer and colleagues on “The Early Prognosis of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss” garnered national media attention. Their research, published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine,  recommended routine implementation of a temporary threshold shift (TTS) screening test to identify workers particularly at risk of developing noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) from occupational exposure to hazardous noise. NIHL is one of the most common work-related conditions in the United States. Susceptibility to NIHL varies across individuals, but unfortunately, no methods are available to predict risk for a particular worker.
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Categories: Engineering Control, Hearing Loss, Manufacturing, Prevention Through Design
August 7th, 2014 8:30 am ET -
Holly Poynter, MPH; Trudi McCleery, MPH; and CAPT Charles S. Hayden, MS, PE
Several years ago NIOSH started the planning process for a “buy quiet” initiative to encourage companies to purchase or rent quieter machinery and tools to reduce worker noise exposure. This initiative also aimed to provide information on equipment noise levels and promote manufacturers to design quieter equipment. NIOSH is now pleased to announce the official launch of our Buy Quiet web resources, complete with a website and educational materials. The new, easy to use materials highlight the benefits of a Buy Quiet program, explain how to establish a program in a workplace, and provide additional resources for finding quieter tools and machinery.
Noise-induced hearing loss is the most common work-related illness in the United States. Each year, approximately 22 million U.S. workers encounter noise exposures loud enough to be potentially hazardous. Buy Quiet can play an important role in protecting workers from these dangerous noise levels.
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