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Year : 2007  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 36  |  Page : 75--77

Hearing impairment among mill workers in small scale enterprises in southwest Nigeria

1 Department of Community Medicine, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria
2 Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Folashade O Omokhodion
Department of Community Medicine, University College Hospital, Ibadan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1463-1741.36983

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This cross-sectional study was conducted among mill workers in a large market in Ibadan, southwest Nigeria. These workers are engaged in small scale businesses with little or no regulation of work exposures. Questionnaires administered to mill workers sought information on personal characteristics, length of time engaged in the job, type of milling done and symptoms of hearing impairment. Noise exposure and hearing impairment were assessed among 85 mill workers. Audiometry was done on mill workers and 45 controls with no known exposure to noise and no history of aural disease. Noise levels at work stations ranged from 88-90dB for small mills and 101-105 for larger mills. None of the workers used hearing protection. Analysis based on total number of ears showed that 56% of the workers had hearing impairment ranging from mild (49%) moderate (6.4%) to severe (0.6%) whilst 33% of the controls had hearing impairment which was mild (26%), moderate (7%) and no severe losses, P = 0.001. There was no association between age and hearing impairment but prevalence of hearing impairment was highest among those who had been engaged in the trade for more than 20 years. There is a need for regulation of small scale enterprises to protect the health of workers. Health education and provision of low cost ear plugs will reduce the occurrence and severity of hearing impairment among these low income workers.


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