IJEP 42(11): 1332-1338 : Vol. 42 Issue. 11 (November 2022)
1. Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research (Deemed University), Department of Speech Language and Hearing Sciences, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, Porur, Chennai, Tamil Nadu-600 116, India
2. University of Hong Kong, Human Communication, Development and Information Sciences, Faculty of Educa- tion, Hong Kong SAR, China
Equipment involved in the laundering process may emit high levels of noise that can result in hearing loss among hospital laundry workers. The present study aim to monitor changes in laundry noise levels and worker hearing threshold levels over a four-year period. Current noise levels and hearing thresholds were compared with previous noise measurements (2015) and annual audiometric data (2017 and 2018). Audiological evaluation, including immittance and extended high frequency distortion product otoacoustic emission recording, was performed with 31 laundry workers. The laundry noise level (LAeq) ranged from 74.2-81.1 dBA. Acoustic spectrum analysis showed predominant energy levels from low to mid octave band frequencies. Over the years, the average noise level was reduced by 3.6 dBA, which can be attributed to effective maintenance, frequent servicing and replacement of worn-out machines. Audiogram results reveal bilateral/unilateral moderate to moderately severe hearing loss in 6 workers. Extended high frequency DPOAEs were absent in 32 ears at all frequencies and were present in 10 ears only at low frequencies. In order to curb the progression of hearing loss, periodic monitoring of hearing status and training/counselling to wear ear protective devices are advisable irrespective of the ambient noise levels for hospital laundry workers.
Noise level, Earplugs, Occupational hearing loss, Sensorineural hearing loss, Hearing protection device
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