Objectives To identify factors associated with hearing protection device use (HPD) at work.
Methods This is a cross-sectional study carried out with a random cluster area sample of households from the city of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Questionnaires were used to obtain sociodemographic, occupational and health related data. Noise exposed worker were those who reported having to shout to be heard in the workplace. When exposed, they were asked whether they use HPD, and how often was it.
Results There were 2429 workers from 18 to 65 years of age, and 299 (12.3%) reported being exposed to loud noise at work. The prevalence of HPD use was 44.5%, 59.3% and 21.4% for men and women, respectively. Among men, only high socioeconomic status (prevalence ratio, PR=1.47; 95% confidence interval, CI: 1.14, 1.90) and previous audiometry (PR=1.47; 95% CI: 1.15, 1.88) were associated with HPD use. In contrast, among women the perception of a good safety climate was associated with HPD use (PR=2.92; 95% CI: 1.34, 6.34), particularly the reporting of having supervisors committed with safety (PR=2.09; 95% CI: 1.04, 4.21), clear rules to prevent work-related injuries (PR=2.81; 95% CI: 1.41, 5.59) and when they were informed about work safety guidelines (PR=2.42; 95% CI: 1.23, 4.76).
Conclusions Our results show that there is a gender bias regarding HPD use less favourable to women compared with men; women’s HPD use is more likely to be positively influenced by safety climate suggesting that gender needs to be taken into account in hearing protection programs.
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