Occupational Exposure to Noise and Age-related Hearing Loss in an Elderly Population of Southern Italy
Luigi De Maria1, Antonio Caputi1, Rodolfo Sardone2, Enza Sabrina Silvana Cannone1, Francesca Mansi1, Francesco Birtolo1, Maria Celeste Delfino1, Domenica Cavone1, Luigi Vimercati1, *
1 Interdisciplinary Department of Medicine, University of Bari, Bari, Italy.
2 National Institute of Gastroenterology-Research Hospital, IRCCS 'Saverio de Bellis', Castellana Grotte, Bari, Italy.
Age-Related Hearing Loss (ARHL) is a gradual and irreversible age-dependent decline in auditory function. There is still no consensus on the long-term functional effects of noise exposure on ARHL.
This study aimed to compare the prevalence of ARHL in an elderly population occupationally exposed to noise in a non-exposed population.
The population was divided into two groups: a group of 482 subjects professionally exposed to noise for over 10 years and a group of 1129 non-exposed subjects. Among the exposed subjects, a subgroup of 298 who worked for over 10 years in the glassware industry was selected. All the participants underwent a thorough otorhinolaryngological examination.
The presence of ARHL was found in 81% of exposed subjects and in 4% of non-exposed subjects. In the sub-group of glassware workers, the prevalence was 88%. The statistical analysis showed a significant association between previous occupational exposure to noise and ARHL (OR = 1.09; 95% CI = 1.067-1.124; p = 0.0012) and between exposure to the glassware industry and ARHL (OR = 1.89; 95% CI = 1.78-1.96; p = 0.006).
Consistent with recent studies, we found a significantly higher prevalence of ARHL among workers exposed to noise; however, further studies are needed to support these findings.
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* Address correspondence to this author at Interdisciplinary Department of Medicine, University of Bari, Bari, Italy. Tel: 0039-080-5478256,