Hearing Conservation in Agricultural Industries

(NIOSH/CDC, 2000-2002) This project evaluated noise exposures and hearing conservation practices in selected agricultural industries identified as having high numbers and/or incidence rates of workers' compensation claims for hearing loss. The proposed project augmented an ongoing, NIOSH-funded study (Daniell, PI; 1-R01-OH03894-01; "Epidemic occupational hearing loss in Washington State"). The PNASH support expanded the study to include agricultural industries with worksites beyond the planned study area.

Project aims included determining if there is substantial work-related risk of hearing loss among workers in industries with a high number and rates of claims for occupational hearing loss and assessing relative effectiveness of approaches using claims data to "target" industries with remediable risk factors for hearing loss. Investigators selected target industries to represent a wide range of above average "prevention index" values (including fruit and vegetable processing sites); conducted worksite evaluations, personal noise dosimetry measures and questionnaires; and assessed worksite compliance with applicable regulations and effectiveness of the hearing conservation program.