The coppersmiths in Kashmir are at risk of developing noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) due to excessive occupational noise exposure with a new study suggesting enforceable noise regulations.
This has been revealed in a study conducted by Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar aimed to estimate the noise exposure levels at the working place of coppersmiths in the valley.
The cross-sectional study included 213 patients after clinical examination at workplaces followed up in ENT OPD at SMHS hospital for audiological evaluation (PTA and OAE).
“The calculated prevalence of NIHL was 49.19. The intensity of noise exposure ranged from 90.1 to 110dB with an average of 101dB at 58 sites visited in Kashmir,” reads the study conducted by Dr Owais Makhdoomi, under the guidance of Prof Rauf Ahmad, head Department of ENT GMC Srinagar.
The research has found that only 4.69% of the individuals with NIHL were aware regarding deleterious effects of loud noise while only 2.81% were using ear protection during their working hours.
“Everybody among them are exposed to loud noise above 100 dB which causes irreversible hearing loss,” said Makhdoomi.
The study has suggested that comprehensive and enforceable noise regulations be applied and while awareness programs be held regarding the ill effects related to loud noise.
The study titled “Evaluation of noise-induced hearing loss in coppersmiths of Kashmir” was conducted from Jan 2017 to June 2018, at the work place of coppersmiths and at SMHS hospital.
Noise is considered as one of these potential hazards and it is currently seen as a global health concern. Noise is a major occupational and environmental hazard, causing hearing loss, annoyance, sleep disturbance, fatigue, and hypertension.
As per doctors extra-auditory effects of high-level noise exposure have been reported, noise-induced hearing loss has long been recognized as primary and most direct health effect of excessive noise exposure.
The study was aimed to determine the prevalence of hearing loss as an occupational hazard in coppersmiths and assess the awareness about noise-induced hearing loss among them.