The Relation between Hearing Loss and Smoking among Workers Exposed to Noise, Using Linear Mixed Models

Document Type: Original

Authors

1 Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Faculty of Health, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran.

2 Neurology Research Center, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran.

3 Department of Occupational Health, Faculty of Health, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran.

4 Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Faculty of Medical, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran.

Abstract

Introduction:
Noise is one of the most common and harmful physical factors in the working environment and has physical and psychological effects on individuals. In this study, the audiometry results of industrial workers were modeled and the effect of noise and other factors on hearing loss was examined.
 
Materials and Methods:                                                                                                
This was a longitudinal study based on the records of workers who had worked over 10 years in the industry and had recorded audiometries since their employment. Data was analyzed through linear mixed models.
 
Results:
During each year of noise exposure, hearing loss was 1.9 db at 4000 Hz; 0.059 in low frequencies and 0.62 db in high frequencies. At 8000 Hz the effect of the age at employment on hearing loss was significant (P=0.014). At low frequencies the interaction of smoking and age at employment was significantly related to hearing loss (P˂0.001).
 
Conclusion:
This study showed that despite acquaintance with safety measures, workers still face hearing loss in industry and employers should put workers under more surveillance for using protective gear. Smoking might be another risk factor for hearing loss.

Keywords