Working in Noise Environment: An Investigation of Hearing Quality of Drivers in Morogoro Municipality, Tanzania
Author(s)- Mary S. Gaganija, Stelyus L. Mkoma Happy F. Kiumbu
The present study has been carried out to assess the hearing quality of commuter bus and taxi drivers in the fast growing Municipality of Morogoro, Tanzania. The study utilized a structured questionnaire and was carried out among 160 drivers randomly selected in August and September 2010. The questionnaire included questions regarding the self-assessment of the drivers about their hearing ability, past and present exposure to loud sound and the use of noise protective gears. The questionnaire was filled up by the respondents at a close supervision and the data were analysed using simple descriptive statistics. The results show that most divers aged below 35 years and have been exposed to the traffic noise environment for 2 to 5 years. Nearly 4% of the respondents felt that their hearing ability was below average and complained of regular tinnitus. The results also show that only 17.5% used noise protective gears and that too, not often. Reasons for non-usage of protective gears (earplugs, earmuffs and canal caps) included awareness (24.4%), non-availability (50%), personal dislike (8.1%) and headache caused by its use (17.5%). Large percent (82.5% of the drivers did not use any method to reduce exposure to noise, while remaining used fingers or hands at time of loud noise to avoid noise exposure. The self-assessment of hearing by the commuter bus and taxi drivers in Morogoro Municipality suggests that most of the drives have normal hearing. However, this study suggests a systematic study with audiometry of these population groups be carried out in future.