Tinnitus found to be a risk factor in workplace injuries

 

NEW HAVEN, CT—Sleeplessness, difficulty in concentrating, anxiety, and depression are some of the common distressing effects on people who suffer from tinnitus, that ringing, hissing, or roaring sound in the ear that often accompanies hearing loss. Now, research conducted at Yale University School of Medicine has found that tinnitus is also associated with increased risk of injury in the workplace.

In a study published in the International Journal of Audiology (IJA), Linda F. Cantley, MS, and seven other authors, reported that in a group of 8818 production and maintenance working at six aluminum manufacturing plants during the period 2003-2008, a 25% increased risk of acute injury risk was observed among those with a history of tinnitus in conjunction with high-frequency hearing loss (PTA 46).

These results, the authors concluded, “provide evidence that tinnitus, combined with high-frequency hearing loss, may pose an important safety threat to workers, especially those who work in high-noise exposed environments.” Therefore, they recommended, “These at risk workers may require careful examination of their communication and hearing protection needs.”

Cantley is a research associate in Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Yale School of Medicine.