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 ARTICLE
Year : 2008  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 39  |  Page : 41--45

Hospital contacts for noise-related hearing loss among Danish seafarers and fishermen: A population-based cohort study


1 Research Unit of Maritime Medicine at University of Southern Denmark; Linda K'rlev, Specialist in Occupational Medicine, Esbjerg, Denmark
2 Danish Defence, Occupational Health Centre South, Fredericia, Denmark/Department of Occupational Health, Haderslev Hospital, Denmark
3 Research Unit of Maritime Medicine at University of Southern Denmark; Department of Occupational Health, Esbjerg Hospital, Denmark
4 School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology, UCLA, LA, USA
5 National Institute of Occupational Health, Copenhagen, Denmark

Correspondence Address:
Linda Kaerlev
Skads Byvej 67, 6705 Esbjerg OE, Denmark

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1463-1741.40822

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Aims: Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is a leading occupational disease and some seafarers and fishermen may be at high risk. We present here standardized hospital contact ratios (SHCRs) for hearing loss among Danish seafarers and fishermen. Materials and Methods: Cohorts of all Danish seafarers registered by the Danish Maritime Authority (DMA) and fishermen retrieved from a 1989-1998 pension registry were linked to the nationwide Occupational Hospitalisation Registry (OHR) with follow-up for NIHL from 1994 to 2003, using rates specific for age and calendar time for the entire Danish workforce as a reference. Results: We found high SHCRs for NIHL: 165 [95% confidence interval (CI) 131-206] among officers, 113 (79-157) for nonofficers and 119 (85-162) for fishermen. The increased SHCR for hearing impairment among seafarers was solely found in engine room personnel (SHCR = 222; 95% CI 178-277). Compared to other seafarers, the engine room personnel had a relative risk ratio of 2.39 (95% CI: 1.74-3.26). Short-term employment is common in many trades. No duration response pattern was observed which may suggest a secondary healthy worker effect. Conclusions: These findings indicate that hearing problems are frequent among men who work in the engine rooms on ships. Long-term cumulative effects of employment were not shown.






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