Hearing loss among older construction workers: Updated analyses.
BACKGROUND: A prior study of this construction worker population found significant noise-associated hearing loss. This follow-up study included a much larger study population and consideration of additional risk factors. METHODS: Data included audiometry, clinical chemistry, personal history, and work history. Qualitative exposure metrics for noise and solvents were developed. Analyses compared construction workers to an internal reference group with lower exposures and an external worker population with low noise exposure. RESULTS: Among participants (n = 19 127) an overall prevalence of hearing loss of 58% was observed, with significantly increased prevalence across all construction trades. Construction workers had significantly increased risk of hearing loss compared to reference populations, with increasing risk by work duration. Noise exposure, solvent exposure, hypertension, and smoking were significant risk factors in multivariate models. CONCLUSIONS: Results support a causal relationship between construction trades work and hearing loss. Prevention should focus on reducing exposure to noise, solvents, and cigarette smoke.
Dement, J; Welch, LS; Ringen, K; Cranford, K; Quinn, P
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