Study Finds 36% of Forestry Workers with Noisy Jobs Suffer Hearing Loss

April 17, 2018

Hearing loss affects many sectors and industries. We have explored Manufacturing Plants, Food Processing plants, Security, Mining, Construction and many others. In this study, hearing loss also has a major impact on Forestry Workers. We know that the hearing is impacted where loud noises occur for long periods of time. This is why Custom Protect Ear created the Smartest Hearing Protection in the World.

Only dB Blockers™ have proven results for effectively eliminating noise-induced hearing loss.  We participated in a study  with a company that obtains 90 plants and approximately 9,000 employees and found that after fitting with dB Blockers, used in conjunction with an effective hearing conservation program, noise-induced hearing loss was virtually eliminated. Learn More. 

About 15 percent of noise-exposed workers in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (AFFH) sector experience hearing loss, according to a new NIOSH hearing loss study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.

While the 15 percent figure is below that found in other sectors, the prevalence of hearing loss is higher — as high as 36 percent— in particular industries including forestry within the AFFH sector.

Also, the prevalence of hearing loss in the AFFH sector has declined since the 1980s, however, it remains one of the industrial sectors with the highest risk for hearing loss.

While we found the overall prevalence of hearing loss in the AFFH sector to be less than all industries combined, which is 19 percent, our study shows there are many industries within the sector that have a large number of workers who have or are at high risk for hearing loss,” said Elizabeth Masterson, PhD, epidemiologist and lead author of the study. “Workers in the high-risk industries identified in this study would benefit from continued hearing conservation efforts.”


In what they say is the first study to estimate hearing loss within the AFFH industry sector, NIOSH researchers identified the AFFH industries with the highest number of noise-exposed workers who have hearing loss and an elevated risk of hearing loss:

  • Forest Nurseries and Gathering of Forest Products (36%), which entails growing trees for reforestation or gathering barks, gums, fibers, etc. from trees;
  • Timber Tract Opera ons (22%), which entails harvesting standing trees to make timber; and
  • Fishing (19%), this study sample comprised workers fishing for finfish such as tuna, salmon, trout, etc.

Additionally, researchers found workers in the aquaculture (fish farms or hatcheries) and logging industries are at higher risk for hearing loss. “Hazardous noise affects an es mated 22 million workers in the U.S. and hearing loss from this workplace exposure is entirely preventable with the right strategies and techniques such as controlling noise to safe levels, protec ng employees through the use of personal protective equipment and monitoring workers for changes in their hearing levels,” said Dr. Masterson.

For the study, researchers examined the results of 17,299 hearing tests, or audiograms, from workers employed at 458 companies in the AFFH sector.


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