Noise Exposure and Hearing Capabilities of Quarry Workers in Ghana: A Cross-Sectional Study

J Environ Public Health. 2016;2016:7054276. doi: 10.1155/2016/7054276. Epub 2016 Jan 21.

Abstract

Introduction: Although quarry operations have high economic significance, the effects they cause to the workers in terms of excessive noise production cannot be overlooked. This cross-sectional study assessed the extent of noise exposure and its influence on hearing capabilities among quarry workers in Ashanti region.

Methods: The study involved 400 workers randomly selected from five quarries in Ashanti region from April to June 2012. Data was collected using structured questionnaires, physical examination, and audiological assessments. A logistic regression model was fitted to assess independent predictors of hearing loss.

Results: All the machines used at the various quarries produced noise that exceeded the minimum threshold with levels ranging from 85.5 dBA to 102.7 dBA. 176 (44%) of study respondents had hearing threshold higher than 25 dBA. 18% and 2% of these were moderately (41-55 dBA) and severely (71-90 dBA) impaired, respectively. Age, duration of work, and use of earplugs independently predicted the development of hearing loss. Use of earplugs showed a protective effect on the development of hearing loss (OR = 0.45; 95% CI = 0.25, 0.84).

Conclusion: This study provides empirical evidence on the extent of damage caused to quarry workers as a result of excessive noise exposure. This will support the institution of appropriate protective measures to minimize this threat.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ear Protective Devices / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Ghana / epidemiology
  • Hearing Loss, Noise-Induced / epidemiology*
  • Hearing Loss, Noise-Induced / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mining
  • Noise, Occupational / adverse effects*
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Prevalence
  • Young Adult