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Development of a new standard laboratory protocol for estimating the field attenuation of hearing protection devices. Part III. The validity of using subject-fit data.
Berger EH; Franks JR; Behar A; Casali JG; Dixon-Ernst C; Kieper RW; Merry CJ; Mozo BT; Nixon CW; Ohlin D; Royster JD; Royster LH
J Acoust Soc Am 1998 Feb; 103(2):665-672
The mandate of ASA Working Group S12/WG11 has been to develop "laboratory and/or field procedure(s) that yield useful estimates of field performance" of hearing protection devices (HPDs). A real-ear attenuation at threshold procedure was selected, devised, tested via an interlaboratory study, and incorporated into a draft standard that was approved in 1997 [J. D. Royster et at., "Development of a new standard laboratory protocol for estimating the field attenuation of hearing protection devices. Part I. Research of Working Group 11, Accredited Standards Committee S12, Noise," J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 99, 1506-1526 (1996); ANSI S12.6-1997, "American National Standard Methods for Measuring Real-Ear Attenuation of Hearing Protectors" (American National Standards Institute, New York, 1997)]. The real-world estimation procedure utilizes a subject-fit methodology with listeners who are audiometrically proficient, but inexperienced in the use of HPDs. A key factor in the decision to utilize the subject-fit method was an evaluation of the representativeness of the laboratory data vis-a-vis attenuation values achieved by workers in practice. Twenty-two field studies were reviewed to develop a data base for comparison purposes. Results indicated that laboratory subject-fit attenuation values were typically equivalent to or greater than the field attenuation values, and yielded a better estimate of those values than did experimenter-fit or experimenter-supervised fit types of results. Recent data which are discussed in the paper, but which were not available at the time of the original analyses, confirm the findings.
Hearing-protection; Laboratory-testing; Laboratory-techniques; Audiometry; Workers
Issue of Publication
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
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Page last reviewed: August 1, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division