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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 95  |  Page : 146--151

The assessment of exposure to occupational noise and hearing loss for stoneworkers in taiwan

1 Department of Public Health, Tzu Chi University, Hualien City, Taiwan
2 Institute of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health, Ministry of Labor, New Taipei City, Taiwan

Correspondence Address:
Lih-Ming Yiin
Department of Public Health, Tzu Chi University, 701 Sec. 3 Zhongyang Road, Hualien City 97004
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/nah.NAH_45_17

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Introduction: Stoneworkers in Taiwan are exposed to occupational noise and suffer hearing impairment. A complete assessment of exposure and health effects is needed for a better understanding. Materials and Methods: We accessed nine stone factories, monitored the environmental and personal doses of noise, analyzed the frequency spectra of noise from various machines, and recruited 55 stoneworkers and 25 administrative staff as controls for pure tone audiometry testing. Results: The means (standard deviations) of 8-h time-weighted averages for environmental and personal monitoring were 85.0 (6.2) and 87.0 (5.5) dB(A), respectively, with seven of nine personal measurements being higher than the respective environmental results. The monitoring data suggest that occupational noise in the stonework environments should be a matter of great concern. Nearly all frequency spectra indicated peak values occurring between 2 and 4 kHz, which were within the bands for early noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). The mean hearing threshold levels of the study participants were elevated in low and high frequencies (29.2 and 41.2 dB) compared to that of controls (∼25 dB for both bands). Linear regression analysis indicated no significance in the low frequencies (P = 0.207) but statistical significance in the high frequencies (P = 0.002) after adjustment for covariates, suggesting NIHL among the stoneworkers. Conclusion: Stoneworkers apparently display early signs of NIHL. Noises in the stonework factories with peaks in the high frequencies are harmful to hearing ability. Employers and workers have to comply with the regulation strictly to prevent further hearing damage.


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