NIOSH Gives AIHce 2007 Attendees Free Hearing Tests

NIOSH is providing hearing tests at no charge at its mobile Hearing Loss Prevention Unit (HLPU) laboratory to attendees of the 2007 American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition in Philadelphia now through June 6, 2007. NIOSH says the unit's presence at the conference is part of its ongoing outreach to emphasize the importance of job-related hearing loss prevention.

HLPU was created in 1999 with the goal of taking NIOSH hearing loss prevention research in the mining industry directly to employers and workers. Since its creation, the unit has traveled to 43 different locations and performed more than 5,000 hearing tests for miners, carpenters, auto workers, and more. With each test more data is gathered and studied.

"As NIOSH focuses more efforts on eliminating occupational hearing loss, it is imperative that we continue to collect information about the extent of the problem and bring information to those most at risk," said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. "The Hearing Loss Prevention Unit is a great example of how we are working to take research and expertise directly to workers and employers, to help improve quality of work and life for workers and their families, and improve our ability to prevent hearing loss."

The unit is housed in a trailer and has a full hearing research clinic with testing booths for up to four people as well as a training and counseling area. Tests performed include fit-testing of hearing products, testing of new earplug insertion techniques, and evaluation and support to develop more effective hearing loss prevention programs.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 30 million workers are exposed to levels of noise on the job that can cause hearing loss and an additional 9 million are at risk of hearing loss from exposures to items such as solvents and metals.

For more information about NIOSH's Noise control and hearing loss prevention research and recommendations, visit www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/noise/ or call 1-800-35-NIOSH (1-800-356-4674).

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