Workers with a history of tinnitus (ringing in the ear) in conjunction with high-frequency hearing loss are more likely to be injured, according to a study from Yale University.
Researchers analyzed more than 9,900 production and maintenance workers who were employed at six aluminum manufacturing plants from 2003 to 2008. Researchers adjusted for ambient noise exposure as part of the project.
The risk of acute injury was 25 percent greater among workers with tinnitus and high-frequency hearing loss. Workers with tinnitus and low-frequency hearing loss did not face the same risk of acute injury but were more likely to sustain minor injuries.
At-risk workers in noisy work environments might require an additional examination of their communication and hearing protection needs, researchers said.
The Portland, OR-based American Tinnitus Association recommends that people who believe they have tinnitus should contact an audiologist, otologist or otolaryngologist for an examination. Tinnitus affects an estimated 50 million people in the United States, ATA said, but only 16 million have sought medical attention for the condition.
The study was published Dec. 30 in the International Journal of Audiology.