HEARING LOSS AMONG VECTOR CONTROL UNIT WORKERS IN BORNEAN MALAYSIA: A CROSS-SECTIONAL RISK FACTORS STUDY
Keywords:Occupational hearing loss, vector control unit workers, noise exposure, high-risk group, pesticide exposure, smoking, Sabah
Risk factors related to hearing loss have been identified in many industrial workplaces. Nevertheless, despite the annual increment in hearing loss cases among vector control unit workers in Malaysia, risk factors associated with hearing loss among this population have not yet been measured properly. A cross-sectional study was conducted to determine factors associated with occupational hearing loss among Ministry of Health (MOH) vector control unit workers in Sabah from May to June 2020 involving 129 participants from three randomly selected district health offices. The data were collected via a validated self-administered questionnaire and audiometry test results and were analysed using IBM Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 26. Chi-square test, logistic regression, and multivariate analysis were used with p-value set at 0.05 with a 95% Confidence Interval (CI). The overall prevalence of hearing loss was 45.5% with a higher prevalence among the high-risk group (57.3%) than the low-risk group (12.5%). The difference was statistically significant (p < 0.05). Long duration of noise exposure (> 3 years) and high-risk group showed a significant association with hearing loss (p < 0.05) with the odds ratio of having hearing loss in workers with a long duration of noise exposure at 12.8 (95% CI = 4.02-40.5) while among the high-risk group it was 20.5 (95% CI = 3.98-105.1) when adjusted for age, smoking, and pesticide exposure. The results of this study can contribute to strengthen the implementation of risk controls to prevent further hearing loss among vector control unit workers.
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