A comprehensive study of the prevalence and risk factors for noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) show that men, especially those who are white and married, are significantly more at risk than women, according to new research presented at the 2009 American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO, in San Diego.

The study, which analyzed the audiometric testing data from 5,290 people between the ages of 20 and 69 years indicates that more than 13% of subjects suffer from NIHL, which would correspond with approximately 24 million Americans suffering from the ailment. The strongest association was of gender, where men are 2.5 times more likely to develop NIHL than women. Among that group, married white (non-Hispanic) men represent the highest risk group for developing NIHL.

NIHL is a preventable and increasingly prevalent disorder that results from exposure to high-intensity sound, especially over a long period of time.

The authors say this is the first study of its kind to delve in to the demographics of NIHL using the most recent figures from 1999 to 2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES). They say this information can allow greater education, preventative, and screening efforts.

Title: Prevalence and Risk Factors for Noise Induced Hearing Loss
Author: Shawn Zardouz; Hamid Djalilian, MD; Vanessa Rothholtz, MD, MSc; Mohsen Barazgan

[Source: AAO-HNS]