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Working in noisy environments is
more stressful for people with hearing loss. Working in noisy environments is more stressful for people with hearing loss.

Workplace noise can be extra stressful for people with hearing loss.
Work is more strenuous and tiring than for those with normal hearing.
These are the findings of a recent Swedish study.

People with reduced hearing are more affected by noise than previously thought. Teachers, health personnel and other occupations where being able to hear and converse with others is particularly important are most affected. People with reduced hearing are more likely to become tired and stressed quicker than those with normal hearing – especially during and after work.

The researchers studied the relationship between hearing ability, noise, cognitive ability and type of task. The study group included teachers, healthcare personnel, industrial workers, administrators and receptionists. Testing was conducted using varying levels of background noise. Areas investigated included:

  • Working memory (the ability to store and process information over a short time)

  • Phonological skills (how accurately sounds are recognised)

  • Lexical ability (how rapidly sounds are identified)

  • Executive ability (how rapidly relevant information is assimiliated and unwanted information ignored).

The main findings of the research project to date are:

  • People with hearing loss do as much work as those with normal hearing, but they often become more tired.

  • People with hearing loss are more likely to feel that their work tasks are more strenuous compared to people with normal hearing.

  • People in jobs in which hearing plays a significant role are more at risk than others. Such jobs include teachers and healthcare personnel.

Björn Lyxell, a professor of psychology and Assistant Director of the Linnaeus Centre HEAD in Linköping, Sweden, said ‘The results show much clearer than previously, how strenuous it can be to listen for those who also have to interpret sounds.’ He added that the research team now plan to look at specific jobs and hopefully develop methods that make it easier to investigate and assess how hearing loss affects job performance as well as general health.





more...Hearing loss costs an estimated €2.2bn every year in Ireland.


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