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.