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A comparison of self-reported hearing and pure tone threshold average in the Iowa Farm Family Health and Hazard Survey.

Choi S-W; Peek-Asa C; Zwerling C; Sprince NL; Rautiainen RH; Whitten PS; Flamme GA
J Agromedicine 2005 Jul; 10(3):31-39
BACKGROUND: Self-reported hearing measures are useful for surveying hearing loss in a population because they are short, and easy to administer by either questionnaire or telephone. This study aims to assess the performance of several self-reported hearing measures to identify hearing loss in a group of Iowa farmers. METHODS: The study subjects were 98 male farmers who participated in the Iowa Farm Family Health and Hazard Survey. We tested three self-reported hearing measures; the hearing screening questions, the Rating Scale for Each Ear (RSEE), and the Health, Education and Welfare-Expanded Hearing Ability Scale (HEW-EHAS), which were originally developed and implemented in the National Health Interview Survey. The sensitivity and specificity of the self-reported hearing measures were assessed by comparing them with pure tone threshold averages. These sensitivity and specificity measures were compared between younger and older age groups. RESULTS: The sensitivities of the screening questions, RSEE, and HEW-EHAS were 73.0%, 66.7%, and 53.3%, respectively. The specificities of the self-reported hearing measures were similar, which ranged from 81.4% to 84.8%. The sensitivities of the self-reported hearing measures were higher in the younger age group while the specificities were higher in the older age group. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study support the use of simple screening questions in identifying hearing loss among farmers.
Age-factors; Humans; Men; Farmers; Agricultural-workers; Agriculture; Epidemiology; Statistical-analysis; Etiology; Auditory-system; Auditory-feedback; Hearing; Hearing-disorders; Hearing-impairment; Hearing-level; Hearing-loss; Questionnaires; Health-surveys; Exposure-levels; Exposure-limits; Author Keywords: self-reported hearing; pure tone threshold average; sensitivity; specificity; farmers
Corinne Peek-Asa, PhD, MPH, Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, College of Public Health, University of Iowa, 100 Oakdale Boulevard #124 IREH, Iowa City, IA 52242-5000
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-T42-OH-008491; Grant-Number-T42-CCT-722958
Issue of Publication
Source Name
Journal of Agromedicine
Performing Organization
University of Iowa
Page last reviewed: May 13, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division