Persistent Post-9/11 Hearing Problems Among World Trade Center Health Registry Rescue and Recovery Workers, 2001 to 2007

J Occup Environ Med. 2017 Dec;59(12):1229-1234. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001171.


Objective: To examine the association between 9/11-related exposures and self-reported hearing problems among 16,579 rescue/recovery workers in the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Registry.

Methods: Using Registry Waves 1 (2003 to 2004) and 2 (2006 to 2007), we modeled the association between two metrics of 9/11-related exposures and hearing difficulties.

Results: The prevalence of incident, persistent hearing problems was 4.4%. In a fully adjusted model, workers with higher environmental hazards scores were twice as likely (interquartile range OR 2.1; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.8, 2.5) to report hearing problems. Based on the same fully adjusted model, workers unable to hear in the dust cloud were 2.3 (95% CI 1.8, 3.0) times more likely to report hearing problems as compared with workers not in the dust cloud.

Conclusions: We observed a consistent association between WTC-related exposures and self-reported hearing problems among rescue/recovery workers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Hearing Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Hearing Disorders / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New York City / epidemiology
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Prevalence
  • Registries
  • Rescue Work / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Report
  • September 11 Terrorist Attacks / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires