|Year : 2015 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 12-15
A rapid appraisal of traffic policemen about auditory effects of traffic noise pollution from Ambala city
Abhishek Singh1, Ashish Bansal2, Shewtank Goel3, Pawan Kumar Goel1, Pankaj Chhikara4, Nand Kishore Singh1
1 Department of Community Medicine, SHKM Govt. Medical College, Haryana, India
2 Department of Pathology, MSDS Medical College, Uttar Pradesh, India
3 Department of Microbiology, MSDS Medical College, Uttar Pradesh, India
4 Department of Forensic Medicine, PGIMS, Rohatak, Haryana, India
|Date of Web Publication||8-Jan-2015|
Department of Community Medicine, SHKM Govt. Medical College Nalhar (Mewat) (Haryana)
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Context: Traffic policemen are at an increased risk of suffering from hazards of noise pollution because they are engaged in controlling traffic noise, particularly at heavy traffic junctions. The effect is more in this subgroup because they are continuously exposed to it. Aim: The present study was aimed at assessing the knowledge, attitude and practices of traffic policemen regarding auditory effects of traffic noise pollution in Ambala city. Settings and Design: Cross-sectional workplace survey. Materials and Methods: The present descriptive study was carried out in different traffic zones of Ambala city during April-June 2013. The study population consisted of 100 traffic policemen working in different traffic intersections of Ambala city. Statistical Analysis Used: Structured interview schedule was used to collect the data. SPSS version 17.0 was used for analysis. Interpretation of data was performed using percentages and proportions. Results: Majority (75%) of the study subjects were exposed to traffic noise pollution for more than 5 years. Of the total subjects, 5% of respondents reported below-average hearing on self-assessment of hearing ability. Seventeen percent of the study population accepted that while hearing over phone they do miss some conversation. Most (98%) of the traffic police did not use any personal protective equipment (PPEs) like earplugs/earmuffs, and the non-availability of these PPEs (90%) is the common reason for the hearing loss. Conclusions: The study concludes that traffic policemen are not much aware regarding impending auditory effects of traffic noise pollution. Duty rotation, duty scheduling and other forms of preventive modalities for exposure limitation are suggested.
Keywords: Kap study, noise, policemen
|How to cite this article:|
Singh A, Bansal A, Goel S, Goel PK, Chhikara P, Singh NK. A rapid appraisal of traffic policemen about auditory effects of traffic noise pollution from Ambala city. Med J DY Patil Univ 2015;8:12-5
| Introduction|| |
Traffic noise is an important environmental health problem.  Noise pollution is not only an environmental nuisance but also a threat to public health.  Direct consequences of noise pollution lead to permanent hearing loss and impairments, while indirect health effects encompass a wide range of health complications resulting from increased anxiety, psychological distress, depression and communication problems. In chronic cases, this can result in cardiovascular problems. Traffic-related noise accounts for over 1 million healthy years of life lost annually to ill health, disability or early death in the western countries in the WHO European Region. 
A major contribution to the noise is vehicular noise.  Rapid motorization and other factors in developing countries have contributed to the problem of noise pollution.  Traffic policemen are at an increased risk of suffering from hazards of noise and air pollution because they are engaged in controlling traffic noise, particularly at heavy traffic junctions. The effect is more in this subgroup because they are continuously exposed to it. Majority of them remain unaware about the health effects of noise on their hearing ability as this is an insidious process and takes a long time to become overt. 
Several studies have been carried out to assess these effects in different subgroups of populations exposed to high noise pollution in their workplaces. , There are only few studies carried out regarding the estimation of auditory effects of noise generated by automobiles among traffic policemen, particularly in India. The present study was aimed at assessing the knowledge, attitude and practices of traffic policemen regarding auditory effects of traffic noise pollution in Ambala city.
| Materials and Methods|| |
The present descriptive study was carried out in different traffic zones of Ambala city during April-June 2013. The study population consisted of traffic policemen working in different traffic intersections of Ambala city. A sample of 100 traffic policemen was taken using convenient sampling.
A structured interview schedule was used to collect the data. The study was conducted in 100 traffic policemen between the age group of 20 and 57 years. The samples were selected by the convenient sampling technique. Data were collected using a structured interview schedule and had three sections. Section A was designed to capture the demographic data of the participants. Section B had questions regarding self-assessment of hearing status and the last section, section C, contained questions relating to usage of personal protective equipment (PPE) measures like earplugs or earmuffs.
Permission from the Additional Commissioner of Police, department traffic, Ambala range, Govt. of Haryana, was taken before the data collection to conduct the study. An ethical committee approved the study. Informed consent was obtained from all the study subjects prior to commencing the study. The investigator started his research data collection work by meeting traffic policemen and got introduced to the traffic policemen, whereby purpose of the study was explained to them. The average time taken by the subjects to complete the questionnaire was around 25 min. After getting answers from the traffic policemen and giving thanks to the respondents, the data collection procedure was terminated. Subjects being involved in talking over a walky to hear and transfer messages, as well as controlling the traffic, was a problem noted by the investigator during the data collection.
The collected data were entered in Microsoft Excel. Coding of the variables was done. SPSS version 17.0 was used for analysis. Interpretation of the collected data was performed by using appropriate statistical methods like mean and percentages.
| Results|| |
Profile of the study subjects
Response of 100 traffic policemen was included in the study. Mean age of the study participants was 40 years. Most of the study subjects were in the economically productive age groups. Majority (75%) of the study subjects were exposed to traffic noise pollution for more than 5 years. Most of the traffic policemen were educated till higher secondary [Table 1].
Of the total study subjects, 5% of respondents reported below average hearing on self-assessment of hearing ability. Seventeen percent of the study population accepted that while hearing over the phone they do miss some conversation [Table 2].
|Table 2: Distribution of study subjects according to self-assessment of hearing status|
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Most (98%) of the traffic police did not use any PPEs like earplugs/earmuffs, and the non-availability of these PPEs (90%) is the common reason for loss of hearing [Table 3].
|Table 3: Distribution of study subjects according to the usage of personal protective equipments|
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| Discussion|| |
In the present study, it was observed that 5% of the subjects felt that their hearing ability was below average. A similar study among traffic cops in Gujarat showed that 2.3% of the subjects felt that their hearing ability was below average.  Another study from Russia reported that the working conditions correlate with hearing loss; therefore, hearing loss in the traffic policemen working on roads was occupational and required adequate prophylactic and therapeutic management.  Singh from Pune reported a very high prevalence of occupational noise-induced hearing loss among traffic police personnel.  More than 80% of traffic branch personnel of Pune traffic police showed sensorineural hearing loss in the study.
Regarding the relationship between hearing loss and duration of noise exposure, a study from Bangladesh reported that 24% of the Dhaka traffic police personnel showed mild to moderate sensorineural hearing loss due to noise exposure, which is related with 6-10 years of duration of exposure.  Another study from Cairo also reported similar findings. A study also clearly showed that the mean hearing threshold was significantly higher in traffic policemen exposed than that of the controls. 
In the present study, self-assessment of hearing ability by the traffic policemen showed that the prevalence of reduced hearing was 5%. Audiometry of these study subjects will assess the exact prevalence of reduced hearing among exposed traffic policemen.
Not surprisingly, our study revealed that almost none of the traffic police used any PPEs like earplugs/earmuffs. A recent study from India also reported that none of the traffic policemen used earplugs/earmuffs. 
The reasons for not providing hearing protection devices to this sub-group could be the paucity of research studies in India regarding the estimation of noise levels and auditory effects of traffic noise pollution among traffic policemen. It is noteworthy that majority of the study subjects are in the economically productive age groups. If this age group experiences hearing disability, they would have to live with that disability throughout their life. Preventive measures at this stage are likely to produce most fruitful results in terms of hearing conservation.
The study has some limitations as well. First, study participants were not subjected to audiometry following the interview; therefore, a systematic study with audiometry of these subjects is recommended. Second, the study did not record the noise levels using sound level meters. Third, the findings emerging from the current study may not be extrapolated because of its small sample size and no matched controls.
| Conclusion|| |
On the basis of the findings of the present study, it is concluded that traffic policemen are not much aware regarding the impending auditory effects of traffic noise pollution. Periodic medical examination should be done for the traffic policemen, and it should include audiometry to assess the auditory effects of exposure to noise. Duty rotation, duty scheduling and other forms of preventive modalities for exposure limitation are suggested.
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[Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]