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Occupational Hearing Loss among Chinese Municipal Solid Waste Landfill Workers: A Cross-Sectional Study


Occupational Hearing Loss among Chinese Municipal Solid Waste Landfill Workers: A Cross-Sectional Study Thumbnail



BACKGROUND: Occupational hearing loss is an increasingly prevalent occupational condition worldwide, and has been reported to occur in a wide range of workplaces; however, its prevalence among workers from municipal solid waste landfills (MSWLs) remains less clear. This study aimed to investigate the occupational hearing loss among Chinese MSWL workers. METHODS: A cross-sectional study of 247 workers from 4 Chinese MSWLs was conducted. Noise and total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs) levels at worksites were determined. We conducted hearing examinations to determine hearing thresholds. A worker was identified as having hearing loss if the mean threshold at 2000, 3000 and 4000 Hz in either ear was equal to or greater than 25 dB. Prevalence of occupational hearing loss was then evaluated. Using unconditional Logistic regression models, we estimated the odds ratios (ORs) of MSWL work associated with hearing loss. RESULTS: According to the job title for each worker, the study subjects were divided into 3 groups, including group 1 of 63 workers without MSWL occupational hazards exposure (control group), group 2 of 84 workers with a few or short-period MSWL occupational hazards exposure, and group 3 of 100 workers with continuous MSWL occupational hazards exposure. Both noise and TVOCs levels were significantly higher at worksites for group 3. Significantly poorer hearing thresholds at frequencies of 2000, 3000 and 4000 Hz were found in group 3, compared with that in group 1 and group 2. The overall prevalence rate of hearing loss was 23. 5%, with the highest in group 3 (36.0%). The OR of MSWL work associated with hearing loss was 3.39 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.28-8.96). CONCLUSION: The results of this study suggest significantly higher prevalence of hearing loss among MSWL workers. Further studies are needed to explore possible exposure-response relationship between MSWL occupational hazards exposure and hearing loss.

Acceptance Date Apr 29, 2015
Publication Date Jun 4, 2015
Journal PLoS One
Print ISSN 1932-6203
Publisher Public Library of Science
Pages e0128719 -?
Keywords Deafness, Ears, Audiology, Hearing, Cross-sectional studies, China, Toluene, Xylenes


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