Productivity Burden of Occupational Noise-Induced Hearing Loss in Australia: A Life Table Modelling Study

Si Si, Kate Lewkowski, Lin Fritschi, Jane Heyworth, Danny Liew, Ian Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Occupational noise-induced hearing loss (ONIHL) is one of the most common yet preventable occupational diseases. The aim of this study was to estimate the economic burden of ONIHL in the Australian working population by quantifying and monetising ONIHL—related loss of Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALY) and Productivity Adjusted Life Years (PALYs). Methods: We simulated the number of moderate-to-severe ONIHL by multiplying the age-specific prevalence of occupational noise exposure by the excess risks of ONIHL. Life table modelling was applied to workers with ONIHL. The QALY and PALY weights attributable to hearing loss were sourced from published data. The 2016 Gross Domestic Product per full-time equivalent worker in Australia was used to estimate the cost of productivity loss due to ONIHL. The cost due to the loss of well-being was quantified using willingness to pay thresholds derived from an Australian longitudinal study. Results: Under current occupational noise exposure levels in Australia, we estimated that over 80,000 male workers and over 31,000 female workers would develop ONIHL over 10 years of exposure. Following this cohort until the age of 65 years, the estimated loss of QALYs and PALYs were 62,218 and 135,561 respectively, with a projected loss of AUD 5.5 billion and AUD 21.3 billion due to well-being and productivity loss, respectively. Reducing noise exposure at work would substantially reduce the economic burden of ONIHL. Conclusion: ONIHL imposes substantial burden on Australian economy. Interventions to reduce occupational noise exposure are warranted.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4667
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


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