Noise Management and Noise Induced Hearing Loss 

Ian Laird was awarded a contract to investigate noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) in New Zealand from the ACC, Department of Labour and Health Research Council. For ACC, NIHL is a major cost, and projections based on current trends suggest that predicted future costs are likely to escalate. A multidisciplinary team from Massey University and Otago University was formed to evaluate the effectiveness of existing work-related interventions to reduce NIHL in New Zealand, to identify critical factors in the development and implementation of such strategies and to propose strategies/interventions where current interventions are considered ineffective. In particular, the research aimed to identify barriers to implementation of known approaches for addressing noise exposure, given that the association between noise and NIHL is well established.A key feature of the project was the series of workplace studies aimed at determining the effectiveness of existing interventions used in industry to reduce noise exposure and prevent NIHL. The survey of workplaces was divided into three component parts. Each survey had a member of the research team as a survey team leader who oversaw the design and implementation of the survey and coordinated data collection, analysis and report preparation. Based on the results of research and literature reviews, recommendations for an intervention strategy were developed which focused on high risk industries and technologies. The studies identified high priority sectors for immediate intervention, the most effective intervention options within those sectors based on the hierarchy of control and the most effective means by which these interventions can be implemented and sustained within the sectors.

Publications from this project:

  • Laird, I.S., Johnston, K., McBride, D., Grimmer-Somers, K., Legg. S.J., Dickinson, P., McLaren, S., Gardner, D., & Hoek, J. (2010). Effective strategies in the prevention of noise induced hearing loss. In Proceedings of the International Symposium on Sustainability in Acoustics, ISSA 2010, 29-31 August 2010, Auckland.
  • Laird, I.S., & McBride, D. (2011) Epidemiology and prevention of noise induced hearing loss in New Zealand. Presentation at 22nd International Conference on Epidemiology in Occupational Health, 7 - 9 September, Oxford, England.

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