Risk Factors for Hearing Loss

Risk Factors for Hearing Loss

The table below provides an overview of the risk factors for hearing loss.

  RiskEvidenceComments
PERSONAL FACTORS

Age


highhighHigh age is strongly related to hearing loss
Male sexmoderatehighMen lose more hearing than women
Hereditary conditionsmoderatehighExplains a great part of the individual variation in hearing loss
Socioeconomic factorslowmediumLow social class, income and education related to reduced hearing
EthnicitylowmediumWhite Caucasians lose more hearing than Afro-Americans
HEALTH
Ear diseasemoderatehigh
Cardiovascular diseaselowlow
Hypertensionlowlow
Diabeteslow low
Smokinglow low
Cholesteroluncertainlow
Triglyceridesuncertainlow
OCCUPATIONS
Industrial workersmoderatemediumDepending on noise exposure level and use of protection
Shipyard workersmoderatemedium
Construction workersmoderatemedium
Offshore workerslowlow
Professional driverslowmedium
Fire fighterslowmedium
Military workersmoderatemedium
Civil aviation workerslow medium
Railway workerslow medium
Farmersmoderatemedium
Musicianslow medium
Kindergarten employeeslow lowProbably too low noise exposure
NOISE EXPOSURE
Continuous noiselow/highhighDaily noise exposure levels of more than 90dB = high risk
Daily noise exposure levels of less than 85dB = lower risk
Impulse noisehighhigh
Gunfiremoderatehigh
Leisure-time noiselowmediumProbably of minor importance at a group level
Hearing protectionreducedmedium
OTHER EXPOSURES
Vibrationlow low Vibration may increase the NIHL
Chemicalslow low Styrene. CS2 toluene, lead, mercury and CO
Medicationlow/highhighCisplatin, aminoglycosides
Table adapted from – Lie et al (2015), p.16. Occupational noise exposure and hearing: a systematic review. Int Arch Occup Environ Health. DOI 10.1007/s00420-015-1083-5. Changes include reformatting and replacing symbols for level of risk and evidence with words. The term severe risk has been replaced with high risk for a UK audience. The systematic review is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The licence can be viewed here. The original source can be found here.