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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 54  |  Page : 364--370

Hearing status among aircraft maintenance personnel in a commercial airline company

1 Department of Medical Sciences/Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Uppsala University, Uppsala University Hospital, SE-751 85 Uppsala, Sweden
2 Department of Aviation Medicine (HMS), Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS), SE-195 87 Stockholm, Sweden

Correspondence Address:
Greta Smedje
Department of Medical Sciences/Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Uppsala University, University Hospital, SE-751 85 Uppsala
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Source of Support: County Council of Uppsala, Sweden, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1463-1741.85509

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The aim was to study subjective and objective hearing loss in a population of aircraft maintenance workers and identify predictors. A total of 327 aircraft maintenance personnel answered a self-administered work environment questionnaire (response rate 76%) and underwent audiometric test. The mean values for the hearing threshold at 3, 4, and 6 kHz for the ear with the most hearing loss were compared with a Swedish population database of persons not occupationally exposed to noise. Equivalent noise exposure during a working day was measured. Relationships between subjective and objective hearing loss and possible predictors (age, years of employment, self-reported exposure to solvents, blood pressure, and psycho-social factors) were analyzed by multiple logistic regression. At younger ages (<40 years), aircraft maintenance workers had higher hearing thresholds (1-3 dB) compared to the reference group, but such a difference was not found in older employees. Relationships were found between age and objective hearing loss, and between exposure to solvents and reported subjective hearing loss. Equivalent noise exposure during working days were 70-91 dB(A) with a maximal noise level of 119 dB(A). Aircraft maintenance workers are exposed to equivalent noise levels above the Swedish occupational standard, including some very high peak exposures. Younger employees have a higher age-matched hearing threshold level compared with a reference group. Thus, there is a need for further preventive measures.


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