nent noise-induced hearing loss can develop long after the cessation of a given noise exposure.

  • Assessing the impact of varied working conditions, such as extended shifts, on occupational hearing loss. Rationale: Current noise exposure standards and recommendations are generally based on presumptions of exposure for an 8-hour work day. Current practices in some industry sectors may result in workers routinely being exposed to hearing hazards (i.e., noise, ototoxic chemicals, or both) during longer work days of 12 hours or more.


Identification of emerging concerns is an important and challenging aspect of the Hearing Loss Research Program’s stated mission “to provide national and world leadership to reduce the prevalence of occupational hearing loss through a focused program of research and prevention.” The committee noted room for improvement in the program’s recent approach to this task. Although the committee suggested additional areas for consideration, it emphasizes that this important task warrants more extensive expert input and evaluation than the committee could provide in the context of its review. Whether or not the NIOSH Hearing Loss Research Program is able to undertake activities proposed by the committee, the program should aim to be at the forefront of efforts to review and define needs in occupational hearing loss prevention and to promote opportunities to pursue new and innovative to ways to respond to those needs.


Bureau of National Affairs. 2001. Hearing loss expected by carpenters, but study finds workers fear tinnitus more. Occupational Safety and Health Reporter 31(April 5): 303–305. [Online]. Available: [accessed May 9, 2006].

Harney JM, King BF, Tubbs RL, Hayden CS, Kardous CA, Khan A, Mickelsen RL, Wilson RD. 2005. NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluation Report, HETA 2000-0191-2960: Immigration and Naturalization Service, National Firearms Unit, Altoona, Pennsylvania. Cincinnati, OH: NIOSH.

IOM (Institute of Medicine). 2006. Noise and Military Service: Implications for Hearing Loss and Tinnitus. Humes LE, Joellenbeck LM, Durch JS, eds. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Lotz WG (NIOSH). 2006a. RE: additional info and document requests. E-mail to L Joellenbeck, Institute of Medicine. January 30.

Lotz WG (NIOSH). 2006b. RE: info request. E-mail to L Joellenbeck, Institute of Medicine. May 26.

Lotz WG (NIOSH). 2006c. Re: update on timing, and question. E-mail to L Joellenbeck, Institute of Medicine. June 14.

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