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Hearing management

Updated 04 December 2017

Hearing loss keeps workers awake

Work-related hearing loss can lead to sleep problems, a new study has found.

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Work-related hearing loss can lead to sleep problems, a new study has found.

Israeli researchers gave hearing tests to 298 male employees at a workplace where they were exposed to harmful noise and found that 99 of the workers had a hearing impairment and 199 had normal hearing. Those with hearing problems tended to be older and to have been exposed to workplace noise for a longer time.

The condition known as tinnitus, which is a continual ringing in the ears, was noted in 51% of those with hearing loss and 14% of those with normal hearing.

Tinnitus and sleeping problems

Tinnitus was reported as the main sleep-disrupting factor among the workers. However, insomnia and other sleep problems were also found among those with other hearing impairments, and neither age nor years on the job seemed to play a role in that finding, the researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, said.

The study, which was carried out by medical student Tsafnat Test under supervision of Dr Einat K. Sheiner and others, was published in the journal Sleep.

"The homogeneous study population exposed to identical harmful noise at the same workplace allowed us to compare sleep quality between similar groups differing only by hearing status," Test explained.


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Hearing Expert

Dr Kara Hoffman graduated from UCT in 2004, thereafter she completed her year of community service in Durban. In 2010 she completed her Masters Degree in Paediatric Aural Rehabilitation from UKZN. In 2016, she became a Doctor of Audiology through the University of Arizona (ATSU). Dr Hoffman and her partner Lauren Thompson opened a fully diagnostic audiology practice called Thompson & Hoffman Audiology Inc. In 2011 with world-class technology and equipment to be able to offer the broad public all hearing-related services including hearing testing for adults and babies, vestibular (balance) assessments and rehabilitation, industrial audiology, hearing devices, central auditory processing assessments for school-aged children, school screening, neonatal hearing screening programmes at Alberlito and Parklands Hospital, cochlear implants and other implantable devices, medicolegal assessments and advanced electroacoustic assessments of hearing. Thompson and Hoffman Audiology Inc. are based at Alberlito Hospital in Ballito, St Augustines Hospital in Durban and at 345 Essenwood Road, Musgrave. The practices are all wheelchair friendly. There are three audiologists that practice from Thompson & Hoffman – including Dr Kara Hoffman, Lauren Thompson & Minette Lister. The practice boasts professional, highly qualified, and extensive diagnostic services where all your hearing healthcare needs can be met. The additional licensing in vestibular assessment and rehabilitation, paediatric rehabilitation and cochlear implantation places this practice in one of the top specialist audiological positions in South Africa, with a wealth of experience in all clinical areas of audiology and is a very well respected and sought-after practice.

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