Hearing loss is a significant and unfortunately common occupational malady. Over the past several decades both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have initiated efforts to better understand and to limit the occurrence of occupational hearing loss, particularly as it relates to excessive noise exposure. This paper briefly addresses the pathophysiology of noise-induced hearing loss and then describes the occupational and non-occupational factors which influence a worker's risk of hearing loss. The primary foci of this discussion are the clinical evaluation, diagnosis, and management of occupational hearing loss. Issues of prevention, OSHA-mandated hearing conservation efforts and compensation are reviewed.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.