Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health


Epidemiology & Community Health

First Advisor

Dr. Joseph Andriano Jr.


Objective: Twenty-two million Americans or roughly 8% of the population are hearing impaired. This affects more than just the ability for one to hear. In the last three decades, younger Americans have shown a sharp increase in hearing impairment. Hearing loss affects social and emotional well being and thus has the ability to decrease one's quality of life. This study was designed to examine the association between smoking, workplace chemical exposure, and hearing loss.Methods: This cross-sectional population-based study was conducted in an occupational health clinic setting in Virginia. The study population consisted of employees from local businesses who visited the clinic during the period of 1/1/03 to 1/1/05 for pure tone audiometry. Chart reviews supplemented by telephone interviews were conducted to extract data for analysis. All study subjects were eligible to participate except for those who were unable to communicate due to a language barrier. Prevalence and crude prevalence ratios were calculated. Adjusted prevalence ratios and prevalence odds ratios were calculated using Cox and logistic regression models. Data entry and statistical analysis were accomplished with the SPSS Data Builder and the SPSS 13.0 statistical software. SAS statistical software was also used for a portion of the statistical analysis.Results: In a Cox regression model controlling for many potential confounding factors (age, race, smoking, chemical exposure, military service, as well as others) cigarette smoking was not associated with hearing loss PR(95% CI), 1.0 (0.7, 1.3). Similarly, exposure to chemicals was not associated with hearing loss 1.1 (0.7, 1.6).Conclusion: This study did not find an association between cigarette smoking and hearing loss and exposure to industrial chemicals and hearing loss in persons who worked in a noisy occupational environment.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008

Included in

Epidemiology Commons