Not only does the environment play a role as a source of risk factors for a hearing impairment, but a hearing impairment itself can adversely affect interaction with family members, workmates and friends, thus reducing social well-being. The number of work-related hearing impairments has been decreasing for last five years, but noise-induced sensorineural hearing loss is still the second most common work-related disease in Finland. The financial burden related to occupational hearing impairments includes costs of compensation, salaries of screening personnel, equipment, maintenance costs, costs resulting from loss of work for the employer and referrals to specialist clinics etc, which until now have not been calculated in Finland. Numerous questions still remain to be answered regarding the association of age, socioacousis, occupation and leisure activities with the development of sensorineural hearing impairment. Can hearing impairment acquired in childhood or in early adolescence predict the development of occupational hearing loss? What is the interactive role of such factors as ageing, chemicals, diet, environmental noise, genetic susceptibility and the individual's other diseases in the development of noise-induced hearing impairment?