Hearing loss and perceptions of noise in the workplace among rural Australians

Warwick Williams, Suzanne Purdy, Narelle Murray, Eric LePage, Kathy Challinor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To compare measured hearing levels of individuals regularly exposed to noise in their workplace to self-reported and family- reported hearing loss. To compare the attitudes and preventative actions adopted by individuals who are more aware of the potential for hearing loss to less aware individuals. Design: The project examined the perceptions of rural workers concerning noise, noise exposure and hearing. The subjects completed a 'Noise at Work' questionnaire and some demographic data at the time of audiometric testing. Setting: The subjects were recruited when attending their rural health clinic for audiometric testing. Participants: Participants comprised 113 men and 23 women (20–65 years, mean = 39.6 , SD = 11.4) working across a range of activities at different levels in their workplaces. The range in current employment was from 0.5 to 45 years (mean = 13.8, SD = 10.7). Results: Hearing tests were compared with perceptions of noise annoyance, hearing damage risk and preventative action. Self- and family-reported hearing loss and conversational difficulties in noise correlated well with measured audiograms. Perceptions of workplace noise tended to be more positive if people felt they had hearing problems. There was no difference in preventative action between those who did and did not feel they had hearing problems. Both groups rated barriers to action and lack of self-efficacy in a similar negative way. Conclusions: There is a need for specific training to ensure that rural workers have skills to take more positive action in reducing noise exposure at work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-119
Number of pages5
JournalAustralian Journal of Rural Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • barriers
  • hearing loss
  • hearing protectors
  • noise exposure
  • perceptions
  • rural
  • self-efficacy


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