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Noise-induced hearing loss: what South African mineworkers know

Noise-induced hearing loss: what South African mineworkers know

International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics 2017: 1-6

The current study aimed to investigate the knowledge of mineworkers regarding noise-induced hearing loss in the South African gold and non-ferrous mining subsectors. A descriptive research design was adopted. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 90 participants who comprised managers, supervisors and miners. Data were analysed qualitatively. The majority of participants (97%) acknowledged working in a noisy environment and demonstrated knowledge of the consequences of this exposure on their hearing function. Although all but one participant indicated having known the importance of using hearing protection devices (HPDs), less than 50% reported consistent use of HPDs. This highlights gaps in education and training, as well as implementation monitoring. All participants reported knowledge regarding the importance of hearing monitoring, but a lack of understanding of their test results. Current findings contribute towards evidence regarding internal barriers to effective application of best practice in hearing conservation programmes (HCPs). Findings highlight the important role of occupational audiologists in South African mines and the need for individualized education during medical surveillance to enhance efficacy of HCPs. Comprehensive education and training programmes regarding noise exposure and exposure measurements with consistent HPD efficiency assessments are recommendations emanating from these findings.

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Accession: 065356010

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 29214904

DOI: 10.1080/10803548.2017.1412122

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