Introduction Noise pollution is an often source of environmental stress that can increase the risk of important health conditions, including: hearing loss, stress, sleep disturbances or altering sleep wake balance, heart disease. A 5 decibel noise reduction could reduce the prevalence of high blood pressure and coronary heart disease, as well as the annual major economic savings.
Methods We monitored 640 textile workers (617 women, caucazians), on the occasion of the annual medical examination, over a three-year period. Audiograms were made to all employees, at the same time with official determination of the noise level, carried out by the Public Health Authority of the county. In selected cases, the workers were also led to specialised examinations (cardiology, neurological, psychiatric, ENT).
Results Official noise level determinations have shown overtaking in many of the technological process points (ironing presses, buttonhole machines, edge banding, staple machines etc.). In situations where workers were rotated at short intervals (30 days), they showed minimal symptoms of high-loud exposure. In situations where workers had fixed workstations, after three years of exposure, a decrease with 5–10 dB(A) in auditory acuity was observed, associated with sleep disturbances, nervousness and irritability, a slight increase in blood pressure, at about 20% of the employees (especially if they were over 50 years old and worked in the noise before). During week-ends and holidays, everyone was feeling good.
Discussion The textile industry is an important sector of concentration of professional high-noise exposure pathology. Technical and organisational measures (risk recognition, wearing individual hearing protection equipment, resting in quiet rooms, separation of noise-generating technology processes, high-tech equipment), as well as medical ones (decrease in headphones use, health education, thorough medical checks), lead to better management of the negative impact of human health noise.
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