Fishing is a working environment, which, due to the presence of engines and noisy equipment, can lead to hearing problems,
especially for workers who are more exposed, such as motorists. It is emphasized that prevention, the only weapon available, is
more difficult at sea.
Occupational noise-induced hearing loss (ONIHL) describes an
acquired hearing impairment attributable to excessive workplace
noise exposure. ONIHL is likely to contribute to a very high
proportion of the cases of hearing loss in adults. In Italy noise
deafness affects almost two thirds of fishermen. The motorists
and the Commanders present a greater risk of developing noiseinduced hearing loss compared to sailors. These data agree with
those reported in studies conducted in other countries. The main
source of noise inside of the boats is represented by the engines
that produce high sound levels too in fishing vessels of less than
30 m in length. A further aspect related to noise on fishing vessels
is represented by exposure sometimes continuous; it is estimated
that a 24-hour exposure at 85dB (A) matches at an exposure of 8
hours to 90dB (A). The high and constant exposure to noise, even
during the few hours of rest on board, helps to develop not only
the hearing loss but also sleep disorders and alterations of blood
pressure and favors the occurrence of injuries. On the boat, the
exposure time cannot be reduced, but the researchers recommend
that measures are taken to decrease the intensity of the noise.
Besides, they ask to the workers to receive a training and oration on
the hearing health and on the raising awareness and sensitization
to the noise exposure, to take regularly hearing tests and to be
followed in the long term to warn the risks of the deafness further
to the noise [1-5].
The relationship between fishing and deafness appears to be
widespread among sea workers. It must to promote the culture
of safety and health protection of workers in the maritime sector,
in order to detect, analyze and study the risk factors in the fishing
Fiorentino F, Bono G, Gancitano V, Garofalo G, Gristina M, et al. (2011) Caratterizzazione ambientale delle aree di pesca - GSA 16 - Coste meridionali della Sicilia: 66-72. In: Cataudella S. e Spagnolo M. (a cura di) Lo stato della pesca e dell acquacoltura nei mari italiani. Ministero delle politiche agricole alimentari e forestali, Roma.