Hearing Conservation at Work


Institutional savings as a result of addressing NIHL can reach the hundreds of millions.

Answer Extra: 

From 1974 to 1994, the US Army saved $504.3M by reducing hearing loss in combat personnel through a dedicated Hearing Conservation Program. Between 1987 and 1997, the Army and the Department of Veterans Affairs saved another $149M and $220M, respectively, by reducing civilian hearing loss.

source: 
source: NIOSH Pub. No. 2001-103

Occupational hearing loss costs an estimated $242.4 million per year in disability alone.

Answer Extra: 

This amount is based on the Washington state 1991 workers' compensation hearing-related disability settlements, extended across the national workforce. It doesn’t include other costs that can include roughly $1500 for a hearing aid and approximately $300/year for batteries. It should be noted that, due to under-reporting, workers' compensation data is generally believed to reflect an incomplete picture.

source: 
source: NIOSH Pub. No. 2001-103

NIHL is the most common occupational injury in the United States.

Answer Extra: 

22 million US workers are exposed to hazardous noise at work on a daily basis and approximately 9 million Americans suffer from NIHL.

source: 
source: NIOSH Pub. No. 2001-103

While less than 10% of the general population is hearing impaired, 50% of carpenters and plumbers—and 90% of retiring coal mine industry workers—have NIHL.

Answer Extra: 

NIHL is a risk in a wide range of work environments, but workers in some industries have higher exposures to dangerous levels of noise. These industries include: agriculture, mining, construction, manufacturing, utilities, transportation and the military.

source: 
source: NIOSH Pub. No. 2001-103

Miners have the highest incidence of occupational hearing loss in the United States. 

Answer Extra: 

At least 80% of American miners are exposed to noise levels that exceed 85 dBA; 25% of these miners are exposed to noise levels higher than the 90 dBA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL). Ninety-percent of all coal miners above the age of 50 have a hearing impairment. By the time coal miners retire, they are nearly guaranteed a moderate hearing loss.

source: 
R.J. Matetic. “Hearing Loss in the Mining Industry: Overview of the NIOSH Hearing Loss Prevention Program at the Pittsburgh Research Laboratory.”