Hearing Noise

Hearing Conservation in Agricultural Industries (NIOSH/CDC, 2000-2002)

hearing conservation illustration by Stacey HollandThis project evaluated noise exposures and hearing conservation practices in selected agricultural industries identified as having high numbers and/or incidence rates of workers' compensation claims for hearing loss. The proposed project augmented an ongoing, NIOSH-funded study (Daniell, PI; 1-R01-OH03894-01; "Epidemic occupational hearing loss in Washington State"). The PNASH support expanded the study to include agricultural industries with worksites beyond the planned study area.

Project aims included determining if there is substantial work-related risk of hearing loss among workers in industries with a high number and rates of claims for occupational hearing loss and assessing relative effectiveness of approaches using claims data to "target" industries with remediable risk factors for hearing loss. Investigators selected target industries to represent a wide range of above average "prevention index" values (including fruit and vegetable processing sites); conducted worksite evaluations, personal noise dosimetry measures and questionnaires; and assessed worksite compliance with applicable regulations and effectiveness of the hearing conservation program.

Vibration and Noise Exposure in Forestry Workers (NIOSH/CDC, 1998-2002)

logging vibration and noiseWorkers in the forest industry are exposed to a number of sources of hand-arm and whole-body vibration, including a variety of hand tools and heavy equipment. Vibration exposure in forestry workers has been associated with negative health effects such as hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) in several countries. The development of HAVS, or any of the ailments it encompasses, can force workers out of their employment by preventing them from performing their normal job tasks. This study collected task-based vibration measurements on forestry workers using a variety of vibration-producing equipment. The vibration assessments performed included hand-arm (segmental) vibration and whole-body vibration. Noise exposures measurements were taken simultaneously in order to estimate the degree to which vibration exposure levels may be predicted by noise exposure levels. This study generated data which will also provide a basis for possible exposure control methodologies.

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