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Noise‑Induced Hearing Loss Still a Problem in Shipbuilders: A Cross‑Sectional Study in Goa, India

Author(s): Bhumika N, Prabhu GV, Ferreira AM, Kulkarni MK

Background: Workplace safety regulations seek to mitigate noise‑induced hearing loss (NIHL), conventionally associated with the shipbuilding industry. Despite this, are workers still predisposed to NIHL? Aims: To study the prevalence of NIHL among noise‑exposed subjects in the shipbuilding industry in Goa and to compare it with that among the non‑exposed population working in the same industry in relation to certain relevant factors. Subjects and Methods: This is a cross‑sectional study in the shipbuilding industry, Goa This study examined 552 workers: 276 shipbuilders and 276 office staff, of similar age, duration of employment and socio‑economic status working at a shipbuilding enterprise. An interviewer‑administered questionnaire was followed by audiometry. Values were presented as percentages, Mean (SD) and odds ratio (OR) and its 95% confidence interval (CI) (Woolfe’s method). Fisher’s exact test and binary logistic regression were used. P value of < 0.05 was taken as significant. SPSS version 16 was used. Results: NIHL was found in 17 (6%) shipbuilders, while no office staff was detected to have this condition (OR = 37.29, 95% CI 22.42-62.18). The shipbuilders with NIHL were 52.5 years of age and had been employed for 30.4 years, on an average. None of the 17 cases of NIHL were found to be using earplugs consistently; 11 reported using them “sometimes” and six “never” used them. Conclusions: NIHL continues to affect shipbuilders, owing their non‑compliance to workplace regulation. Health education is the need of the hour.

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