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Is testing 500 Hz necessary when monitoring for occupational hearing loss?

Authors
Stephenson-MR
Source
NHCA Spectrum 2004 Feb; 21(Suppl 1):25
NIOSHTIC No.
20030375
Abstract
Audiometric monitoring is an important element in hearing conservation programs. Nearly every existing hearing conservation standard dictates that hearing thresholds should be measured at specific frequencies, and that 500 Hz be among those frequencies tested. Actual and estimated noise-induced permanent threshold shifts were evaluated as a function of exposure duration and exposure level. The results demonstrate 500 Hz to be of no value in assessing noise-induced hearing loss for typical industrial noise exposures of up to 40 years, at least for time-weighted average exposures of up to 100 dBA. Furthermore, few hearing conservation programs currently require audiometric monitoring to be performed in an environment that meets ANSI standards for maximum permissible background noise levels. This is particularly likely to compromise hearing testing at 500 Hz. Finally, there is a substantial economic burden associated with conducting hearing tests at 500 Hz. As a result, this paper argues against the need for testing at 500 Hz, and recommends it be eliminated as a required test frequency in audiometric monitoring for noise-induced occupational hearing loss.
Keywords
Monitoring-systems; Occupational-exposure; Occupational-hazards; Occupational-health; Hearing; Hearing-loss; Noise-induced-hearing-loss; Noise-exposure; Noise; Audiometry; Hearing-conservation; Hearing-threshold; Noise-frequencies; Exposure-levels
Publication Date
20040219
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings; Abstract
Fiscal Year
2004
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
NIOSH Division
DART
Source Name
NHCA Spectrum
State
OH
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