INDUSTRIAL NOISE EXPOSURE AND WORK-RELATED STRESS AS PREDICTORS OF AUDITORY PERFORMANCE AND PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL-BEING OF INDUSTRIAL WORKERS IN IBADAN, OYO STATE, NIGERIA
Noise is a health-threatening phenomenon, which often affects health, safety, and efficiency of people at workplace, home, and socio-educational gatherings. Therefore, exposure to this noise and work-related stress has been observed to have deleterious effect on the auditory performance and psychological wellbeing of industrial workers. The study investigated the influence of industrial noise and work-related stress on the auditory performance and psychological well-being of factory workers in Ibadan. The study adopted a survey research design, and purposively sampled 304 industrial workers through the use of a self-developed questionnaire titled ‘Influence of Industrial Noise Exposure and Work-Related Scale’, with a reliability coefficient of 0.76. Afterwards, all the participants were audiologically examined via Pure-Tone Audiometric Assessment (PTA). Data generated were analysed using frequency counts, percentage, mean and Pearson’s Product Moment Correlation (PPMC). 206 (67.8%) participants who were audiologically tested presented with different types and patterns of hearing loss, as 130 (47.0%) of the participants had high frequency hearing loss in the right ear, while 150(54.6%) had same in the left ear. Also, 90 (33.0%) of the participants had mild hearing loss in the right ear, while 80 (29.0%) had same in the left ear. 188 (61.8%) of the participants reported difficulty in hearing when someone speaks in a whisper or at a very low voice. 216 (71.1%) of the participants claimed that they frequently change their phone from one ear to another when receiving calls via mobile phone. 181 (59.5%) of the participants admitted that they hear better in one ear than the other. Further findings revealed that 179 (58.9%) of the participants do have difficulty hearing as well as understanding their fellow co-workers, clients or customers whenever engaging in conversation. 163 (53.6%) of the participants agreed that they always tune up to high volume when using mobile phone, TV or Radio. Consequently, reduced auditory performance and poor psychological wellbeing have been found to be associated with industrial noise exposure and work-related stress among industrial workers in Ibadan. Therefore, the study recommends periodic audiological evaluation, appropriate use of hearing protective devices, regular public awareness on effects of work-related stress on quality of life as well as the psychological well-being. Government should ensure that industrial firms adhere strictly to health and safety policies, hearing conservation protocols, and regular medical check-ups. Working hours at various industrial firms should be reduced to allow for adequate rest and off-duty relaxation as well as physical exercise to prevent unnecessary fatigue, reduced auditory performance and poor psychological well-being.
Keywords: Auditory performance, factory workers, hearing loss and conservation, industrial noise exposure, psychological well-being, work-related stress.
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