IJCM  Vol.11 No.4 , April 2020
Effects of Occupational Noise on the Hearing Ability of Outpatient Clinic Nurses in Different Classes of Hospitals in Guangzhou
Abstract: Background: Occupational noise can induce hearing impairment. Work-related hearing impairment has become a growing threat to medical practitioners who feel anxious about occupational noise exposure and its health outcomes or even experience auditory dysesthesia (including drumming, distending pain in the ears, and otalgia) after long-term exposure to a noisy work environment. Objective: To investigate the effects of occupational noise on the hearing ability of outpatient clinic nurses in Grade III, Level A and Grade II, Level A hospitals in Guangzhou. Methods: During June 2019, noise monitoring was performed by quantifying the noise levels at four measuring points (reception, waiting area, hallway, blood-sampling room) in five Grade III, Level A and five Grade II, Level A hospitals, in Guangzhou, four times a day (8 AM, 10 AM, 2 PM, and 4 PM) for 19 working days, using a professional noise measuring application for smartphones. The measurements were verified and used to create a database in Excel. Data analysis was conducted using SPSS22.0, and questionnaires were distributed to nurses who had been working at outpatient clinics for five years and above to assess the impacts of occupational noise exposure on the hearing ability. Results: In the Grade III, Level A hospitals, the sound levels at the four measuring points during the specific time periods were 4.92 - 6.75 dB above the permissible limit of 55 dB and were all significantly higher than the sound levels at the outpatient clinics of the Grade II, Level A hospitals (P < 0.001). Outpatient clinic nurses who had been serving with the Grade III, Level A hospitals for at least five years (n = 140, mean age: 44 ± 5.1) had a prevalence ratio of auditory dysesthesia higher than their counterparts (n = 110, mean age: 42 ± 6.1) in the Grade II, Level A hospitals (P < 0.01). Conclusions: Exposure to excess noise can lead to auditory dysesthesia in outpatient clinic nurses. Compared to those from Grade II, Level A hospitals, outpatient clinic nurses from Grade III, Level A hospitals are at higher risk of auditory dysesthesia. The noise levels at outpatient clinics should be closely monitored, and effective measures should be taken to reduce occupational noise exposure. Outpatient clinic nurses should enhance protective measures and receive preventive health exams on a regular basis.
Cite this paper: Liu, D. , Zeng, X. and Wang, L. (2020) Effects of Occupational Noise on the Hearing Ability of Outpatient Clinic Nurses in Different Classes of Hospitals in Guangzhou. International Journal of Clinical Medicine, 11, 154-162. doi: 10.4236/ijcm.2020.114016.

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