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Epidemiologic strategies to understanding noise-induced hearing loss.

Erdreich J; Erdreich LS
New Perspectives on Noise-Induced Hearing Loss 1982; :439-460
Epidemiological strategies used in studies on the distribution of noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) were reviewed. The frequency of NIHL has been assessed through two different measures, incidence and prevalence. Two standard epidemiologic risk measures were considered: attributable risk and relative risk. Variations of the statistical methods used to compute these risks were discussed which relate specifically to the problems encountered in NIHL. Percent risk was the commonly used measure and it was the difference between the percentage of the exposed population with a defined hearing loss and the percentage of a reference nonexposed population with that same loss. Attributable risk reflected the amount of a hearing loss which is attributable to the specified exposure and is appropriate for establishing policies and methods to reduce the incidence of the offending condition. The relative risk was the ratio of the probability of a disease occurring when certain factors are present to the likelihood of this condition occurring with the same certain factors absent. Attention was also directed in this review to the selection of comparison populations, sampling schemes and other factors in the study design, and sample size requirements. Use of the information derived from studies on the epidemiology of NIHL to protect both the worker and the employer was discussed.
Hearing-acuity; Ear-disorders; Industrial-noise; Noise-exposure; Acoustic-trauma; Acoustic-vibration; Cell-damage; Impulse-noise; Auditory-system; Risk-factors
Publication Date
Document Type
Hamernik RP; Henderson D; Salvi R
Fiscal Year
Priority Area
Infectious Diseases; Disease and Injury
Source Name
New Perspectives on Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Page last reviewed: February 11, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division