- Bus drivers, traffic police, vendors and auto drivers have been exposed to higher levels of noise
- Most of them ignore hearing loss at its early stage
- All participants in the study unaware about ear protective devices
- It recommends wider awareness campaigns to tackle the issue
A recent research by Sreeraj Konadath, Lecturer, Department of Audiology, All India Institute of Speech And Hearing has found that people like bus drivers, autorikshaw drivers and vendors who were at high risk of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) were unaware about ear protective devices.
The study included 50 participants with ten each from traffic police, bus drivers, autorickshaw drivers, vendors and office workers. The research measured the noise level surrounding the individuals from each category and analyzed it in different dimensions. The study found out that bus drivers were exposed to higher level of noise while it was least for office workers. The exposed noise level for each category is:
- Bus drivers – 80.42 dB
- Auto drivers – 77.32 dB
- Traffic police- 75.77dB
- Vendors -73.88
- Office workers 52.4 dB
The study finds that the exposure higher level of noise can lead to NIHL, which most of them understand only after the complete loss of hearing capacity. Though bus drivers, traffic police, and other individuals are at high risk of NIHL, all of them are not aware of protective guards for the ear. The analysis of answers from questionnaire indicates that most of them showed a negative attitude towards preventive measures against hearing loss.
Considering the facts gained through the study, researcher recommended active Hearing Loss Prevention Programs (HLPP) to avoid future risks.
A majority of the population who belongs to the working class are still unaware about the threats of noise pollution. As per statistics, about 16 percent of the hearing loss in adults comes from the occupational noise across the world and scenario is similar in India.
As per WHO, the proportion of hearing impaired people less than 50 years old is higher in developing countries than in developed countries. A 1989 report indicates a prevalence rate of 13.5 to 18.5 percent hearing impairment in India.
The preventive measure includes:
- Proper awareness about noise level
- Strict enforcement of the law regarding noise levels in factories
- Audiological assessment at least once a year
- Maintenance of record