Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Hearing Loss, Loud and Clear: Combined Effect of Noise and Toluene in Workers

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Hearing Loss, Loud and Clear: Combined Effect of Noise and Toluene in Workers

Article excerpt

Animal studies have clearly shown that simultaneous exposure to noise and toluene, a clear organic solvent widely used in various manufacturing industries, causes hearing loss. Studies of this interaction in the workplace have been limited, however, and their results inconclusive. Research now establishes, for the first time, a strong correlation between hearing loss in workers and their simultaneous exposure to noise and toluene [EHP 114:1283-1286; Chang et al.].

Conducted in a Taiwan adhesive factory, the study included three male study groups: 58 workers exposed only to noise (an average of 85 A-weighted decibels), 58 workers exposed to both toluene and noise, and 58 administrative workers. Air samples were collected from the working areas of the three groups, and sound pressure level meters were used to assess noise levels in the same areas. The researchers also calculated the time-weighted average of noise levels for each group.

The researchers collected data through interviews and physical examinations of the participants, including information on lifestyle and sociodemographic variables such as age, whether respondents smoked or drank, and use of hearing protection. They also administered hearing tests in a soundproof room. …

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