n South African Journal of Communication Disorders - Recent advances in hearing conservation programmes : a systematic review - original research

Volume 67 Number 2
  • ISSN : 0379-8046
  • E-ISSN: 2225-4765



Background: Current evidence from low- and middle-income (LAMI) countries, such as South Africa, indicates that occupational noise-induced hearing loss (ONIHL) continues to be a health and safety challenge for the mining industry. There is also evidence of hearing conservation programmes (HCPs) being implemented with limited success.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to explore and document current evidence reflecting recent advances in HCPs in order to identify gaps within the South African HCPs.

Method: A systematic literature review was conducted in line with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis. Electronic databases including Sage, Science Direct, PubMed, Scopus MEDLINE, ProQuest and Google Scholar were searched for potential studies published in English between 2010 and 2019 reporting on recent advances in HCPs within the mining industry.

Results: The study findings revealed a number of important recent advances internationally, which require deliberation for possible implementation within the South African HCPs context. These advances have been presented under seven themes: (1) the use of metrics, (2) pharmacological interventions and hair cell regeneration, (3) artificial neural network, (4) audiology assessment measures, (5) noise monitoring advances, (6) conceptual approaches to HCPs and (7) buying quiet.

Conclusion: The study findings raise important advances that may have significant implications for HCPs in LAMI countries where ONIHL remains a highly prevalent occupational health challenge. Establishing feasibility and efficacy of these advances in these contexts to ensure contextual relevance and responsiveness is one of the recommendations to facilitate the success of HCPs targets.

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