Original Research

Knowledge and attitudes of a group of South African mine workers towards noise induced hearing loss and the use of hearing protective devices

Elise Kahan, Eleanor Ross
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 41, No 1 | a255 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v41i1.255 | © 2019 Elise Kahan, Eleanor Ross | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 October 2016 | Published: 31 December 1994

About the author(s)

Elise Kahan, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Eleanor Ross, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

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Abstract

The study aimed to explore the knowledge and attitudes of a group of mine workers regarding noise induced hearing loss and the use of hearing protective devices. These aims were investigated via a questionnaire administered in a group setting to 55 underground mine workers. The main finding that emerged from the study was that respondents were poorly informed regarding the fact that noise was a health hazard. Furthermore, the knowledge that respondents did possess, appeared to have been derived from the personal experience of working in noisy environments for many years, rather than from educational input. Contrary to expectations, respondents did not view deafness as a status symbol but rather as a negative attribute. Consequently, they were motivated to protect themselves from hearing impairment and to be educated about hearing and the effects of noise. The mine workers complained about discomfort when wearing hearing protective devices as well as feelings of insecurity due to inhibition of communication and the inability to hear warning signals. For these reasons, noise protection was mainly worn in situations perceived as noisy by workers themselves. These results are discussed in terms of their implications for the clinical practice of audiology; hearing conservation in the mining industry; further research; and the training and education of speech-language pathologists and audiologists.

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