IRSST - Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail

Use of hearing aids in a noisy work environment


Many people who develop hearing loss, especially individuals who experience such loss following a noise exposure, would like to wear hearing aids. However, in many noisy workplaces their use is not recommended, for fear that this might result in overexposure that could aggravate their condition. Health professionals are raising fundamental questions about overexposure; they are also concerned about the effectiveness of hearing aids to support listening, communication and localization of sound sources in the workplace, the optimal parameters to consider when fitting hearing aids and the potential attenuation provided by the wearing of a non-activated prosthesis.

Researchers would like to update current knowledge on this subject. They will therefore launch a review of the literature on the subject, develop and validate a questionnaire for health care providers that they will administer in discussion groups and through telephone interviews and consult the manufacturers of hearing aids and standardization bodies.

This research will contribute significantly to a better understanding of the use of hearing amplification in noisy workplaces, and determine the extent of the problem among workers and the consequences for worker health and safety. It will document current practices and make knowledge-based recommendations to stakeholders. The results can be used to design systems for measuring noise in the workplace and document the risk of exacerbating deafness. Ultimately, the knowledge gained will guide manufacturers in the development of hearing aids and active hearing protectors to provide adequate amplification of useful sound signals while limiting the risk of damage to hearing.

Additional Information

Type: Project
Number: 2011-0014
Status: Completed
Year of completion: 2016
  • Tony Leroux (Université de Montréal)
  • Chantal Laroche (Université d'Ottawa)
  • Jérémie Voix (École de technologie supérieure)
  • Christian Giguère (Université d'Ottawa)