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Is testing 500 Hz necessary when monitoring for occupational hearing loss?
Spectrum 2004 Feb; 21(Suppl 1):25
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.
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
Conference/Symposia Proceedings; Abstract
Spectrum: the National Hearing Conservation Association newsletter
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division