Researchers in the Yale Occupational and Environmental Medicine Program, at Yale University School of Medicine conducted a retrospective analysis and found that workers with a history of tinnitus (ringing in the ears) in conjunction with high-frequency hearing loss are more likely to be injured. According to an article published in the February 2015 issue of the International Journal of Audiology, researchers analyzed more than 9,900 production and maintenance workers who were employed at six aluminum manufacturing plants from 2003 to 2008. For their analysis, the researchers adjusted for ambient noise exposure.
The risk of acute injury was found to be 25% greater among workers with tinnitus and high-frequency hearing loss, according to the authors. Workers with tinnitus and low-frequency hearing loss did not face the same risk of acute injury, but were more likely to sustain minor injuries.
Based on their findings, the researchers suggest that at-risk workers in noisy work environments might require an additional examination of their communication and hearing protection needs.
The American Tinnitus Association (ATA) recommends that people who believe they have tinnitus contact an audiologist, otologist or otolaryngologist for an examination. Tinnitus affects an estimated 50 million people in the United States, but reportedly only 16 million have sought medical attention for the condition.
Source: Yale University; Safety & Health Magazine