A review was made of 580 staff identified as currently working offshore for Shell Expro in the Brent Field. Of these 476 had more than one audiogram over their period of employment and were thought to be free of overt otological disease. This cohort was used to look at changes in audiometric performance over the period of their employment offshore by comparing first and most recent audiograms. The changes at 3, 4, and 6kH, the noise susceptible frequencies were averaged for the 2 ears and distributions of mean annual change calculated. The pattern of change for the whole population was also calculated and is not that to be expected if there were a significant contribution by noise. Relationships between initial hearing status, and age, and subsequent change were also analysed. Neither appear to have any significant bearing on rate of further change in this environment.

The paper concentrates on ways of assessing the performance of a potentially noise exposed population as a whole. The results suggest that although a noise hazard is present in the offshore workplace, efforts made to control it and protect staff are effective.

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