Falls risk and hospitalization among retired workers with occupational noise-induced hearing loss
This study sought to ascertain whether occupational noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) increased the risk of falls requiring hospitalization among retired workers. The study population consisted of males (age ≥ 65) with an average occupational noise exposure of 30.6 years and whose mean bilateral hearing loss was 42.2 dB HL at 3, 4, and 6 kHz. Seventy-two retired workers admitted to hospitals after a fall were matched with 216 controls from the same industrial sectors. Conditional logistic regression models were used to estimate the risk (odds ratio; [OR]) of falls leading to hospitalization by NIHL categories. Results showed a relationship between severe NIHL (≥ 52.5 dB HL) and the occurrence of a fall (OR: 1.97, CI95%: 1.001-3.876). Reducing falls among seniors fosters the maintenance of their autonomy. There is a definite need to acquire knowledge about harmful effects of occupational noise to support the prevention of NIHL and ensure healthier workplaces.