Inconsistent Use of Hearing Protection
More than 50 percent of workers exposed to noise in 2014 did not wear hearing protection consistently, a study conducted by NIOSH researchers has found. Published in October in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, the study shows that inconsistent use of hearing protection was more prevalent in industries that have fewer noise-exposed workers. The study’s authors call for employers to offer a variety of hearing protection devices to workers and require their use. NIOSH researchers analyzed data from workers who responded to the 2007 and 2014 National Health Interview Surveys. Information from the study appears below.
From study co-author and NIOSH Research Epidemiologist Elizabeth Masterson, PhD: “The prevalence of [hearing protection device] non-use remains high. Increasing worker awareness and providing training about the importance of proper and consistent use of HPDs can protect workers from the effects of hazardous noise. In addition, we need to overcome barriers to HPD use by ensuring that workers have HPDs that are comfortable and do not overprotect from noise so they can hear speech and other important workplace signals.”
American Journal of Industrial Medicine: “Prevalence of Hearing Protection Device Non-Use Among Noise-Exposed U.S. Workers in 2007 and 2014” (October 2021).
NIOSH: “Study Finds Over Half of Noise-Exposed Workers Do Not Use Hearing Protection When Exposed to Noise on the Job” (October 2021).
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