June 8, 2023

NIOSH to Study Noise, Ototoxic Chemical Exposures Among Oil and Gas Workers

A new project proposed by NIOSH would examine the relationships between noise exposure, chemical exposures, hearing loss, and hearing loss prevention practices in the onshore oil and gas extraction industry. According to the Federal Register notice describing the proposal, no significant occupational noise exposure research has yet been conducted in this sector in the United States. This proposed project would address one of the research priorities of NIOSH’s Oil and Gas Extraction Program: preventing hearing loss from exposure at work to loud noise or chemicals that damage hearing.

Researchers would use the data collected during the proposed project to better understand noise exposures, ototoxic chemical exposures, self-reported hearing loss, and practices to prevent hearing loss among workers in the oil and gas industry. The project would involve direct measurements of noise and ototoxic chemicals on job sites; a questionnaire to collect information on noise and chemical exposures, hearing loss, and associated factors among oil and gas extraction workers; and audiometry tests performed by NIOSH with the goal of understanding the extent of hearing loss among workers in this industry.

NIOSH is accepting comments on the proposed project until July 11, 2023. Further details can be found in the Federal Register.

Related: Two articles from the Synergist archives focus on the topic of ototoxicants: “The Ear Poisons: An Introduction to Ototoxicants” from the November 2018 issue and “Ototoxicants and Hearing Impairment: The Challenge for Occupational Hygiene” from the December 2019 issue.