Noise Induced Hearing Loss Difference Between Skin Pigments.

Noise can be continually in the background in a number of occupations, and both men and women with some of form of hearing loss may not become aware of the condition until their hearing has significantly deteriorated to become a permanent handicap.
Oct. 19, 2011 - PRLog -- Almost 9 million people in the UK, or one in seven of the population, suffer from deafness or experience significant hearing difficult. Of this number, approx. 1.1 million are exposed to potentially damaging noise levels in the workplace.

Past research conducted into the various levels of susceptibility to noise induced hearing loss often found key gender differences in the workplace between the adult male and female, while at the same time, finding that girls can be as equally vulnerable to specific types of hearing damage as boys.

As a result of population studies, it has also been found that males and fair-skinned people tend to be more vulnerable to excessive noise levels than females and dark-skinned people. While daily average noise levels below 80 dB(A) are generally considered of minimal risk, noise levels above 90 dB(A) are known to be harmful. In addition,  noise levels peaking at  130 to 140 dB(A), can be harmless if the duration is only a few milliseconds and there are no or few repetitions for certain groups of individuals.

The  new studies, conducted in the US,  also suggest that dark-skinned people are much less likely than people with white skin to suffer from a loss of hearing, and which may also lead to industrial deafness. The explanation to the difference in hearing may be due to the melanin-producing cell pigment called melanocytes, which protects the skin.

The study was originally conducted from collected data on over 700 people aged 70 and upwards, which found that of the two thirds suffering hearing loss, nearly two thirds had white skin while less than a half had black skin. Other studies have shown similar results, which show that darker-skinned white people are more likely to have better hearing than white people with pale skin.

Earlier studies of black and white metal factory workers found that black people seemed to be exposed to a lower risk of hearing loss than their white co-workers.

Although further research will be needed to completely confirm the results, researchers are also investigating the relationship between hearing and ethnic origin on the basis of the temporal bone (located at the sides and base of the skull), cell structure and trying to determine if there is a skin colour is related to any differences within the cochlea of the inner ear.

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