About one out of 8 U.S. workers suffers from some level of hearing loss, according to a new study released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, but most losses were preventable, reports CBS News.
The CDC study found that almost 13 percent of U.S. workers experience some degree of hearing loss, particularly in the mining, construction and manufacturing fields. Of the more than 1.4 million workers tested during the course of the study, 2 percent experienced “moderate or worse” hearing loss. The agency defines moderate loss as “difficulty hearing another person talking, even in a quiet place or on the phone.”
The study also determined that mining is the most damaging industry for the ears, with 17 percent of miners suffering from some form of hearing loss. Miners also sustained the highest rate of exposure to “hazardous” noises.
The construction industry came in a close second to mining, though, as the toughest on its workers’ hearing, with 16 percent of workers suffering some form of hearing loss. Workers in manufacturing fields came in third, with 14 percent of all workers affected. While that group experienced less hazardous noise levels overall, the manufacturing field encompasses by far the largest number of workers with occupational hearing impairments.
Lead researcher Elizabeth Masterson of the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and her team concluded that nearly all workplace hearing damage is preventable.
“Occupational hearing loss is a permanent but entirely preventable condition with today’s hearing loss prevention strategies and technology,” the researchers wrote.
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