Hearing Threshold, Loss, Noise Levels and Worker’s Profiles of an Open Cast Chromite Mines in Odisha, India|
Kerketta, Sunamani; Gartia, Rajendra & Bagh, Somanath
The aims of the study were to describe the noise levels at an open cast chromite mine in Odisha, India, and the hearing threshold of its workers and to associate their hearing loss with their age, work station and length of employment at the mine.
We performed a cross-sectional study of the hearing threshold of chromite mine workers. Audiometric data from 500 subjects was collected at the mines’ hospital in the Sukinda Valley of Jajpur, Odisha, India. The latest audiometry data available for the period 2002 to 2008 was used in the analysis. Audiometric screening was performed using an audiometer (TRIVENI TAM-25 6025A) in a quiet environment by qualified technicians, audiologists or physicians. Tests were conducted on the subjects after they had completely rested for 16 hours or more after their day shift.
A maximum of 262 subjects (52.4%) were employed in the work zone area and a minimum of 2 subjects (0.4%) had less than 5 years working experience. The age of the subjects ranged from 29 to 59 years and their working experience ranged from 4 to 37 years. The subjects’ average mean hearing thresholds at 4, 6 and 8 kHz were 21.53 dBA, 23.40 dBA and 21.90 dBA, respectively. The maximum Leq and L90 levels exceeded the prescribed limits for commercial, residential and silence zones. The maximum Leq levels exceeded 95 dBA for large and medium heavy earth moving machineries (HEMMs), both outside and at the operator’s position. Hearing loss due to the subjects’ work experience was found to be greater than that attributable to age and workstation.
In our study population, the maximum noise levels for large and medium HEMMs and inside the cabins of HEMMs were found to be more than 95 dBA. This indicates that operators in this particular chromite mine at Odisha, India were exposed to noise levels exceeding 95 dBA for more than 10% of the monitoring time. The subjects’ hearing loss was also found to increase for every 10-year age interval and that for every 5 years of work experience at high fence. The subjects’ age and experience are significantly associated with hearing loss at all levels for frequencies of 4.0, 6.0, and 8.0 kHz, with older and more experienced workers having a higher incidence of hearing loss.
hearing loss, noise, presbycusis