Can Rh antigens be a risk factor in noise-induced hearing loss?
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Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is one of the most common occupational problems and is one of the main causes of deafness. Many factors cause NIHL. Individual susceptibility is one of them. Rhesus (Rh) antigens and ABO blood groups can be factors in determining individual susceptibility. We aim to investigate the relationship between the Rh antigens and NIHL. The study was conducted in 438 factory workers who had been exposed to a noise level more than 85 dB for 8 h a day for a period of ≥15 years. The audiologic results and blood groups were obtained from the individual health records of the factory workers. We determined NIHL in 236 (53.9%) workers. Two hundred and nineteen (55.4%) of Rh-positive workers and seventeen (39.5%) of Rh-negative workers have NIHL, and the difference between the two groups was statistically significant (P < 0.05), whereas no statistically significant difference was determined between the NIHL and ABO blood groups. In conclusion, we suggest that the people with Rh-positive blood group are more prone to develop NIHL.