Vestibular Symptoms in Factory Workers Subjected to Noise for a Long Period

G Raghunath, LB Suting, S Maruthy


Background: Noise can cause permanent or temporary hearing loss. High levels of noise may stimulate the vestibular system and thereby cause disturbances in the balancing mechanism.

Objective: To determine the effect of long-term exposure to occupational noise on the vestibular system.

Methods: A dizziness questionnaire was administered to 20 factory workers who were exposed to occupational noise for more than 10 years. The results were compared with 2 control groups. The control group 1 consisted of 20 people who had similar physical activity during work but were not exposed to high level of noise. Control group 2 consisted of 20 students never exposed to hazardous noise.

Results: There was significant difference between the experimental group and the 2 control groups in terms of frequency of vestibular symptoms. However, most of the symptoms were subtle in nature. Tinnitus was significantly (p<0.05) more frequent in the experimental group than the 2 control groups.

Conclusions: Long-term exposure to noise may cause vestibular symptoms before clinically detectable hearing loss. The symptoms are subtle for which they are mostly neglected; the symptoms do not affect the functional ability of workers.


Hearing loss, noise-induced; Vestibular diseases; Dizziness; Vertigo; Hair cells, auditory

 pISSN: 2008-6520
 eISSN: 2008-6814

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