Korean J Audiol.  2012 Sep;16(2):54-64. 10.7874/kja.2012.16.2.54.

Prevalence and Risk Factors of Hearing Loss Using the Korean Working Conditions Survey

Affiliations
  • 1Occupational Safety and Health Research Institute, Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency, Incheon, Korea. kobawoo@kosha.net

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES
The hearing loss of workers can occur when they are affected by age, otologic disease, and work-related risks such as noise and chemicals. Based on the Korean Working Conditions Survey (KWCS) in 2010, this research aimed to estimate the prevalence rate of hearing loss and to identify the risk factors affecting its occurrence.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS
The subjects were 10019 employees who completed an interview conducted as part of KWCS in 2010. The prevalence rate of hearing loss according to sex, age, education, income, smoking, drinking, hypertension, industrial type, occupations, employment status, working period, and hazards at the workplace were assessed. The factors that could affect the occurrence of hearing loss were investigated based on a logistic regression analysis.
RESULTS
The prevalence rate of hearing loss was 2.7%. In a logistic multivariate analysis, sex, age, occupations, working period, noise, and exposure to chemicals showed statistically significant correlations to the occurrence of hearing loss. The adjusted odd ratios were as follows: 1.74 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.03-2.96] for males, 2.11 (95% CI, 1.14-3.89) for those in their 40s, 2.24 (95% CI, 1.19-4.20) for those in their 50s, 2.21 (95% CI, 1.18-4.15) for manage/professional works, 2.73 (95% CI, 1.69-4.41) for manufacturing, 2.07 (95% CI, 1.36-3.15) for those who have worked for more than 20 years, 1.72 (95% CI, 1.14-2.58) for noise exposure, 1.53 (95% CI, 1.02-2.30) for vibration exposure and 1.58 (95% CI, 1.11-2.24) for chemical exposure.
CONCLUSIONS
The overall occupational and non-occupational risk factors related to employees' hearing loss were reviewed. In addition to the exposure to noise, occupational risks of hearing loss, such as isolated exposure to vibration and chemicals, and combined exposure to noise and these hazards, were identified. Multiple exposure to hazards, along with prolonged noise exposure increased the risk of hearing loss.

Keyword

Hearing loss; Risk factors; Noise; Chemicals

MeSH Terms

Drinking
Ear Diseases
Employment
Hearing
Hearing Loss
Humans
Hypertension
Logistic Models
Male
Multivariate Analysis
Noise
Noise, Occupational
Occupations
Prevalence
Risk Factors
Smoke
Smoking
Vibration
Smoke
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