Risk of hearing loss among workers with vibration-induced white fingers
Background We examined the risk of hearing loss for workers who use hand-held vibrating tools with vibration-induced white fingers (VWF) compared to workers without VWF.
Methods Data on 184 participants from a 21-year cohort were gathered with questionnaires and measurements. The effects on hearing status of VWF, hand-arm vibration exposure, smoking habits, age and two-way interactions of these independent variables were examined with binary logistic regression. Analyses were made for the right hand and ear as well as for the hand with VWF and the ear with worse categorized hearing status.
Results Workers with VWF in their right hand had an increased risk of hearing loss (odds ratio 2.2–2.3) in the right ear. Workers with VWF in any hand did not have any increased risk of hearing loss in the ear with worse hearing status.
Conclusions This study supports the hypothesis that VWF increases the risk of hearing loss among workers who use hand-held vibrating tools in a noisy environment.