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Noise and hand-arm vibration exposure in relation to the risk of hearing loss
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
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2012 (English)In: Noise & Health, ISSN 1463-1741, E-ISSN 1998-4030, Vol. 14, no 59, 159-165 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study was to examine the possible association of combined exposure of noise and hand-arm vibration (HAV) and the risk of noise-induced hearing loss. Workers in a heavy engineering industry were part of a dynamic cohort. Of these workers, 189 had HAV exposure, and their age and hearing status were recorded in the same year and were, therefore, included in the analysis. Data on HAV duration and acceleration was gathered through questionnaires, observations, and measurements. All available audiograms were categorized into normal and hearing loss. The first exposure variable included the lifetime HAV exposure. The lifetime HAV exposure was multiplied by the acceleration of HAV for the second and third exposure variable. Logistic regression using the Generalized Estimation Equations method was chosen to analyze the data to account for the repeated measurements. The analysis was performed with both continuous exposure variables and with exposure variables grouped into exposure quartiles with hearing loss as an outcome and age as a covariate. With continuous exposure variables, the odds ratio (OR) with a 95% confidence interval (CI) for hearing loss was equal to or greater than one for all exposure variables. When the exposure variables were grouped into quartiles, the OR with a 95% CI was greater than one at the third and fourth quartile. The results show that working with vibrating machines in an environment with noise exposure increases the risk of hearing loss, supporting an association between exposure to noise and HAV, and the noise-induced hearing loss.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Medknow Publications, 2012. Vol. 14, no 59, 159-165 p.
National Category
Environmental Health and Occupational Health
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-60024DOI: 10.4103/1463-1741.99887PubMedID: 22918146OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-60024DiVA: diva2:557489
Available from: 2012-09-28 Created: 2012-09-28 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Risk of hearing loss from combined exposure to hand-arm vibrations and noise
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Risk of hearing loss from combined exposure to hand-arm vibrations and noise
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Hearing loss from noise exposure is one of the most common occupational injuries, and exposure to vibrations may increase the risk of noise-induced hearing loss. Earlier cross-sectional and longitudinal studies found an increased risk of noise-induced hearing loss among workers with vibration-induced white fingers (VWF) symptoms compared to workers without such symptoms. It has been suggested that vibrations to the hand stimulate the sympathetic nervous system and cause vasoconstriction in both the exposed hand and the ears and that this contributes to noise-induced hearing loss. The overall aim of this thesis was to examine how hand-arm vibrations (HAV) interact with noise in the development of noise-induced hearing loss.

The experimental study in this thesis examined the effects of HAV and noise, both separately and combined, on the temporary threshold shift (TTS) in hearing in 22 healthy male and female subjects. The two longitudinal studies in this thesis were based on a cohort of 189 male workers at a heavy engineering workshop. The first cohort study examined the risk of noise-induced hearing loss from long-term exposure to HAV and noise. The second cohort study examined if workers with VWF had an increased risk of noise-induced hearing loss compared to workers without such symptoms. Finally, the questionnaire study in this thesis examined the occurrence of Raynaud’s phenomenon among 133 men and women with noise-induced hearing loss in relation to exposure to vibrations.

In the experimental study, no differences in TTS in hearing were observed after combined exposure to HAV and noise compared to exposure to only noise. In the first cohort study, there was an increased risk of noise-induced hearing loss with increased exposure to HAV in a noisy environment. In the second cohort study, it was found that workers with VWF had an increased risk of noise-induced hearing loss compared to workers without VWF. In the questionnaire study, many men and women with noise-induced hearing loss had used hand-held vibrating machines suggesting that vibrations might contribute to noise-induced hearing loss. A high prevalence of Raynaud’s phenomenon was found among men.

This thesis demonstrated that there was a long-term effect on noise-induced hearing loss from combined exposure to noise and HAV, but no short-term effect, and that having Raynaud’s phenomenon may also increase the risk of noise-induced hearing loss.

Abstract [sv]

Många arbetare använder sig av handhållna vibrerande verktyg. Det utsätter dem för höga nivåer av både buller och vibrationer. Människor som utsätts för höga bullernivåer under lång tid kan skada sin hörsel. Risken för hörselnedsättning orsakad av buller kan eventuellt öka om personen samtidigt är utsatt för vibrationer från handhållna vibrerande verktyg. Syftet med avhandlingen var att studera om vibrationer i kombination med buller ökar risken för hörselnedsättning.

Avhandlingen består av fyra studier. Den första studien är en experimentell studie med 22 friska deltagare med god hörsel. Denna studie undersökte hur hörseln tillfälligt påverkas av buller och vibrationer, separat och i kombination. Den andra och tredje studien bygger på en population bestående av 189 verkstadsarbetare i Sundsvall som följts regelbundet sedan 1987. Den andra studien undersökte om det finns en ökad risk för hörselnedsättning för arbetare som utsätts för buller och vibrationer under lång tid. Den tredje studien undersökte om arbetare med vita fingrar har en ökad risk för hörselnedsättning än arbetare utan vita fingrar.

Vita fingrar är en kärlskada orsakad av vibrationer som gör att fingrarna reagerar onormalt snabbt på kyla. Fingrarna blir vita när blodtillförseln till dem stryps. Den fjärde studien är en enkätstudie med 342 kvinnor och män som har en bekräftad hörselnedsättning orsakad av buller. Studien undersökte hur många ur denna grupp som utsätts för vibrationer samt har vita fingrar.

Resultaten från studierna visar att det inte finns någon skillnad i hörselpåverkan från buller och vibrationer i kombination jämfört med enbart buller under kort tid. De som utsätts för vibrationer från handhållna vibrerande verktyg i en bullrig miljö under lång tid har en ökad risk för hörselnedsättning. Arbetare med vita fingrar har en högre risk för hörselnedsättning än de utan. En hög andel av de med hörselnedsättning orsakad av buller använder sig av handhållna vibrerande verktyg. I studien fanns även en hög andel med vita fingrar.

Sammanfattningsvis visar resultaten att det finns en långtidseffekt av buller och vibrationer på hörselnedsättning men inte någon korttidseffekt, och att vita fingrar kan påverka risken för hörselnedsättning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2013. 48 p.
Series
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1546
Keyword
Hearing loss, noise, hand-arm vibration, combined exposure, vibration induced white fingers, Raynaud's phenomenon
National Category
Environmental Health and Occupational Health
Research subject
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-64191 (URN)978-91-7459-543-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-02-22, Triple Helix, Samverkanhuset, Universitetstorget 4, Umeå, 09:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-01-23 Created: 2013-01-18 Last updated: 2014-07-08Bibliographically approved

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