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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 28  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 110-116

Hearing impairment in military personnel in Eastern Saudi Arabia

1 Department of Surgery, Ministry of National Guard Health Affairs, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Surgery, Ministry of National Guard Health Affairs, Al Ahsa, Saudi Arabia
3 Department of Medicine, Alwatania University, Khartoum, Sudan

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Abdulaziz K Alaraifi
Department of Surgery, Ministry of National Guard Health Affairs, P. O. Box 3660, Riyadh 11481
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfcm.JFCM_501_20

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BACKGROUND: Noise exposure is one of the most common occupational hazards worldwide. Studies have shown that the prevalence of hearing loss and tinnitus is higher in military personnel than in other occupations. This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of hearing impairment in military personnel in Eastern Saudi Arabia. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 409 military personnel. A self-administered questionnaire collected data on level of awareness, hearing impairment, and protection of hearing. Pure-tone audiometry (PTA) was conducted on 141 participants to determine the prevalence and pattern of hearing impairment. Multivariate analysis was used to determine the predictors of hearing loss in military personnel. RESULTS: More than half of the participants (54.3%) were unaware of the consequences of noise exposure and none used proper hearing protection. A small percentage (5.9%) complied with the annual hearing examination, and only 23% had had a previous hearing evaluation. More than half of the participants (58.4%) had one or more abnormal hearing-related symptoms, with tinnitus as the most common symptom (43.8%). PTA showed hearing impairment in 71.6% of the participants. Multivariate analysis showed older age as only significant factor associated with hearing impairment in military personnel. CONCLUSION: Noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus are common occupational disabilities in military personnel. Hearing conservation programs have to be initiated to ensure the application of hearing protection measures and control the effects of exposure to noise.

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Journal of Family and Community Medicine | Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow
Online since 05th September, 2010