Hearing loss among farmers : the effects of farm equipment and firearm noise
Kale, Dianna Lynn
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The one purpose of this study was to determine if hearing loss is greater in farmers when compared to a nonnoise exposed cohort data base group. A secondary purpose was to assess farmers who have been exposed to firearm noise and determine if they have greater hearing loss than farmers who have not been exposed to firearm noise. Also, does an ear difference occur, and if so is it due to farm noise exposure, firearm noise exposure, or a combination of both noise sources? Farmers without firearm noise exposure (Group I) were matched with a group of farmers with firearm noise exposure (Group II). The subjects were matched based on a detailed profile established by using a telephone survey questionnaire. The audiometric threshold data for these subjects were compared. Farmers' thresholds were compared to thresholds from a non-noise exposed cohort data base group. It was evident that the farmers' hearing loss was greater than what age alone would predict. From this study, it appears that there was not a significant difference between the hearing of farmers who shot firearms and farmers who did not shoot firearms. A significant ear difference was not evident in this study. The inability to find significance between the hearing of fanners who shot firearms and those who did not may be due to the small number of subjects that were involved in this study. Also, a wide range of variability existed among the subjects' hearing thresholds for both groups, which could have obscured the differences.