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   2011| September-October  | Volume 13 | Issue 54  
    Online since September 28, 2011

 
 
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ARTICLES
Evaluating the impact of wind turbine noise on health-related quality of life
Daniel Shepherd, David McBride, David Welch, Kim N Dirks, Erin M Hill
September-October 2011, 13(54):333-339
DOI:10.4103/1463-1741.85502  PMID:21959113
We report a cross-sectional study comparing the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of individuals residing in the proximity of a wind farm to those residing in a demographically matched area sufficiently displaced from wind turbines. The study employed a nonequivalent comparison group posttest-only design. Self-administered questionnaires, which included the brief version of the World Health Organization quality of life scale, were delivered to residents in two adjacent areas in semirural New Zealand. Participants were also asked to identify annoying noises, indicate their degree of noise sensitivity, and rate amenity. Statistically significant differences were noted in some HRQOL domain scores, with residents living within 2 km of a turbine installation reporting lower overall quality of life, physical quality of life, and environmental quality of life. Those exposed to turbine noise also reported significantly lower sleep quality, and rated their environment as less restful. Our data suggest that wind farm noise can negatively impact facets of HRQOL.
  30,578 170 37
Auditory sensitivity in opiate addicts with and without a history of noise exposure
Vishakha Rawool, Carrie Dluhy
September-October 2011, 13(54):356-363
DOI:10.4103/1463-1741.85508  PMID:21959116
Several case reports suggest that some individuals are susceptible to hearing loss from opioids. A combination of noise and opium exposure is possible in either occupational setting such as military service or recreational settings. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency of the U.S. Department of Justice, prescriptions for opiate-based drugs have skyrocketed in the past decade. Since both opium and noise independently can cause hearing loss, it is important to know the prevalence of hearing loss among individuals who are exposed to opium or both opium and noise. The purpose of this research was to evaluate auditory sensitivity in individuals with a history of opium abuse and/or occupational or nonoccupational noise exposure. Twenty-three men who reported opiate abuse served as participants in the study. Four of the individuals reported no history of noise exposure, 12 reported hobby-related noise exposure, 7 reported occupational noise exposure including 2 who also reported hobby-related noise exposure. Fifty percent (2/4) of the individuals without any noise exposure had a hearing loss confirming previous reports that some of the population is vulnerable to the ototoxic effects of opioids. The percentage of population with hearing loss increased with hobby-related (58%) and occupational noise exposure (100%). Mixed MANOVA revealed a significant ear, frequency, and noise exposure interaction. Health professionals need to be aware of the possible ototoxic effects of opioids, since early detection of hearing loss from opium abuse may lead to cessation of abuse and further progression of hearing loss. The possibility that opium abuse may interact with noise exposure in determining auditory thresholds needs to be considered in noise exposed individuals who are addicted to opiates. Possible mechanisms of cochlear damage from opium abuse, possible reasons for individual susceptibility, and recommendations for future studies are presented in the article.
  19,203 24 5
Hearing status among aircraft maintenance personnel in a commercial airline company
Greta Smedje, Maria Lundén, Lotta Gärtner, Håkan Lundgren, Torsten Lindgren
September-October 2011, 13(54):364-370
DOI:10.4103/1463-1741.85509  PMID:21959117
The aim was to study subjective and objective hearing loss in a population of aircraft maintenance workers and identify predictors. A total of 327 aircraft maintenance personnel answered a self-administered work environment questionnaire (response rate 76%) and underwent audiometric test. The mean values for the hearing threshold at 3, 4, and 6 kHz for the ear with the most hearing loss were compared with a Swedish population database of persons not occupationally exposed to noise. Equivalent noise exposure during a working day was measured. Relationships between subjective and objective hearing loss and possible predictors (age, years of employment, self-reported exposure to solvents, blood pressure, and psycho-social factors) were analyzed by multiple logistic regression. At younger ages (<40 years), aircraft maintenance workers had higher hearing thresholds (1-3 dB) compared to the reference group, but such a difference was not found in older employees. Relationships were found between age and objective hearing loss, and between exposure to solvents and reported subjective hearing loss. Equivalent noise exposure during working days were 70-91 dB(A) with a maximal noise level of 119 dB(A). Aircraft maintenance workers are exposed to equivalent noise levels above the Swedish occupational standard, including some very high peak exposures. Younger employees have a higher age-matched hearing threshold level compared with a reference group. Thus, there is a need for further preventive measures.
  13,987 38 4
Hearing impairment among workers exposed to excessive levels of noise in ginning industries
Kamalesh J Dube, Lalit T Ingale, Sopan T Ingale
September-October 2011, 13(54):348-355
DOI:10.4103/1463-1741.85506  PMID:21959115
Cotton ginning workers have a risk of hearing loss due to excessive noise levels at the workplace environment. In this study, estimates of typical sound levels prevailing at the workplace environment and its effects on hearing ability of the exposed workers were made among cotton ginning workers. Data on self-reported health status was collected by a questionnaire survey at 10 cotton ginning industries located at Jalgaon district of Maharashtra state, India. The cotton ginning workers were exposed to continuous noise levels between 89 and 106 dBA. The hearing ability of the subjects was accessed by pure tone audiometry. The results of audiometry show mild, moderate and moderately severe degree of hearing impairment among the cotton ginning workers. The data generated during the study show that hearing loss was significantly associated with period of exposure to the workplace noise (P <0.0001). The prevalence of audiometric hearing impairment defined as a threshold average greater than 25 dB hearing level was 96% for binaural low-frequency average, 97% for binaural mid frequency average and 94% for binaural high-frequency average in the cotton ginning workers. We recommend the compulsory use of personal protective equipment like ear plug by the cotton ginning workers at the workplace environment. A regular maintenance of ginning and pressing machineries will avoid the emission of excessive noise at the workplace environment of cotton gins. A regular periodic medical examination is necessary to measure the impact of workplace noise on the health of cotton ginning workers.
  9,679 23 6
Prevalence of hearing loss and accuracy of self-report among factory workers
Marjorie C McCullagh, Delbert Raymond, Madeleine J Kerr, Sally L Lusk
September-October 2011, 13(54):340-347
DOI:10.4103/1463-1741.85504  PMID:21959114
Noise represents one of the most common occupational health hazards. A Healthy People 2020 objective aims to reduce hearing loss in the noise-exposed public. The purpose of this study was to describe and compare perceived and measured hearing, and to determine the prevalence of hearing loss among a group of factory workers. Data collected as part of an intervention study promoting hearing protector use among workers at an automotive factory in the Midwest were used. Plant employees (n=2691) provided information regarding their perceived hearing ability, work role, and other demographics. The relationships among audiograms, a single-item measure of perceived hearing ability, and demographic data were explored using chi-square, McNemar's test, Mann-Whitney U-test, sensitivity, and specificity. The prevalence of hearing loss among noise-exposed factory workers was 42% (where hearing loss was defined as >25 dB loss at the OSHA-recommended frequencies of 2, 3, and 4 kHz in either ear). However, 76% of workers reported their hearing ability as excellent or good. The difference in perceived hearing ability was significant at each tested frequency between those with and without measured hearing loss. Self-reported hearing ability was poorly related to results of audiometry. Although this group of workers was employed in a regulated environment and served by a hearing conservation program, hearing loss was highly prevalent. These findings, together with national prevalence estimates, support the need for evaluation of hearing conservation programs and increased attention to the national goal of reducing adult hearing loss.
  8,407 35 12
Perceptions and practices regarding use of personal listening devices among medical students in coastal South India
T Rekha, B Unnikrishnan, Prasanna P Mithra, Nithin Kumar, Mario Joseph Bukelo, Kirthinath Ballala
September-October 2011, 13(54):329-332
DOI:10.4103/1463-1741.85500  PMID:21959112
Today's generation enjoys having music at their fingertips. This has led to an increase in the usage of personal listening devices (PLDs) over the past decade. There are significant concerns regarding harmful effects of PLD use. To find out the perception and practice of medical students regarding use of PLDs. Cross-sectional study was carried out in Mangalore, Coastal south India. Data were collected using a 31 item semi structured questionnaire that was distributed among 570 medical students, of which 485 completed questionnaire were received giving an overall response rate of 86.14%. The study was approved by the departmental review board. Statistical analysis used: data were analyzed using SPSS Version 11.5, Chi-square test for association was used and P<0.05 was considered statistically significant. Of the total study participants, 83.1% of them used PLDs regularly, of whom 77.7% used it for more than 1 h a day. Overall, 18.0% of the study population was aware that prolonged use of PLDs could be harmful to their health. Majority of the study subjects (72.4%) felt that the safe duration of listening to PLDs is 3 to 5 h. Among the subjects using PLDs ≥ 1 h, 60.1% preferred ear phones and among those using PLDs <1 h, 44.1% preferred earphones. Overall, 12.4% experienced temporary hearing loss on usage of PLDs. The use of PLDs among the medical students is on the rise, and they should be made more aware of the harmful effects associated with its use.
  7,233 26 2