Hearing conservation for farmers: Source apportionment of occupational and environmental factors contributing to hearing loss

William S. Beckett, Diane Chamberlain, Eric Hallman, John May, Syni An Hwang, Marta Gomez, Shirley Eberly, Christopher Cox, Alice Stark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Those who work on farms continue to have a strikingly high prevalence of hearing loss, despite efforts to promote hearing conservation in agriculture. To develop improved hearing conservation programs, we performed a source apportionment analysis for hearing loss in a large, multiphasic health survey, the New York Farm Family Health and Hazard Survey. We used information from audiometric, otoscopic, and tympanometric examinations; detailed general health and farm exposure interviews; and a second interview that focused on additional potential determinants of hearing loss. Hearing loss on audiometry was significantly associated with increased age, male gender, education through high school or less, lifetime years of hunting with guns, lifetime years of use of a grain dryer, and a history of spraying crops during the previous year. Hearing conservation programs for farmers should thus be directed toward reduction in noise exposure, both from occupational and non-occupational sources. Additional study is needed to evaluate the association seen between crop spraying and hearing loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)806-813
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of occupational and environmental medicine
Volume42
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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