Pure-tone audiometry (PTA) and transient-evoked otoacoustic emissions (TEOAEs) were determined in 57 classical orchestral musicians along with a questionnaire inquiry using a modified Amsterdam Inventory for Auditory Disability and Handicap ((m)AIADH). Data on musicians' working experience and sound pressure levels produced by various groups of instruments were also collected. Measured hearing threshold levels (HTLs) were compared with the theoretical predictions calculated according to ISO 1999:1990. High frequency notched audiograms typical for noise-induced hearing loss were found in 28% of the subjects. PTA and TEOAE consistently showed a tendency toward better hearing in females vs. males, younger vs. older subjects, and lower- vs. higher-exposed to orchestral noise subjects. Audiometric HTLs were better than theoretical predictions in the frequency range of 2000-4000 Hz. The (m)AIADH scores indicated some hearing difficulties in relation to intelligibility in noisy environment in 26% of the players. Our results indicated a need to implement a hearing conservation program for this professional group.
The overall purpose of this study was to assess hearing status in professional orchestral musicians. Standard pure-tone audiometry (PTA) and transient-evoked otoacoustic emissions (TEOAEs) were per- formed in 126 orchestral musicians. Occupational and non-occupational risk factors for noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) were identified in questionnaire inquiry. Data on sound pressure levels produced by various groups of instruments were also collected and analyzed. Measured hearing threshold levels (HTLs) were compared with the theoretical predictions calculated according to ISO 1999 (1990). Musicians were exposed to excessive sound at weekly noise exposure levels of for 81-100 dB (mean: 86.6±4.0 dB) for 5-48 years (mean: 24.0±10.7 years). Most of them (95%) had hearing corresponds to grade 0 of hearing impairment (mean hearing threshold level at 500, 1000, 2000 and 4000 Hz lower than 25 dB). However, high frequency notched audiograms typical for noise-induced hearing loss were found in 35% of cases. Simultaneously, about 35% of audiograms showed typical for NIHL high frequency notches (mainly occurring at 6000 Hz). When analyzing the impact of age, gender and noise exposure on hearing test results both PTA and TEOAE consistently showed better hearing in females vs. males, younger vs. older musicians. But higher exposure to orchestral noise was not associated with poorer hearing tests results. The musician’s audiometric hearing threshold levels were poorer than equivalent non-noise-exposed population and better (at 3000 and 4000 Hz) than expected for noise-exposed population according to ISO 1999 (1990). Thus, music impairs hearing of orchestral musicians, but less than expected from noise exposure.
The aim of the study was to evaluate the combined effect of noise exposure and additional risk factors on permanent hearing threshold shift. Three additional risk factors were: exposure to organic solvents, smoking and elevated blood pressure. The data on exposure and health status of employees were collected in 24 factories. The study group comprised of 3741 noise male exposed workers of: mean age 39±8 years, mean tenure 16±7 years and LEX,8h = 86 ± 5 dB. For each subject, hearing level was measured with pure tone audiometry, blood pressure and noise exposure were assessed from the records of local occupational health care and obligatory noise measurements performed by employers. Smoking and solvent exposure were assessed with questionnaire. The study group was divided into subgroups with respect to the considered risk factors. In the analysis, the distribution of hearing level of each subgroup was compared to the predicted one which the standard calculation method described in ISO 1999:1990. For each of the considered risk factors, the difference between measured and calculated hearing level distribution was used to establish, by the least square method, a noise dose related correction square function for the standard method. The considered risk factors: solvent exposure, smoking and elevated blood pressure combined with noise exposure, may increase degree of hearing loss.
A questionnaire inquiry on response to wind turbine noise was carried out on 361 subjects living in the vicinity of 8 wind farms. Current mental health status of respondents was assessed using Goldberg General Health Questionnaire GHQ-12. For areas where respondents lived, A-weighted sound pressure levels (SPLs) were calculated as the sum of the contributions from the wind power plants in the specific area. Generally, 33.0% of respondents were annoyed outdoors by wind turbine noise at the calculated A-weighted SPL of 31-50 dB, while indoors the noise was annoying to 21.3% of them. The proportion of subjects evaluating the noise produced by operative wind turbines as annoying decreased with increasing the distance from the nearest wind turbine (27.6% at the distance of 400-800 m vs 14.3% at the distance above 800 m, p < 0.016). On the other hand, the higher was the noise level, the greater was the percentage of annoyed respondents (14.0% at SPL up to 40 dB vs 28.1% at SPL of 40-45 dB, p < 0.016). Besides noise and distance categories, subjective factors, such as general attitude to wind turbines, sensitivity to landscape littering and current mental health status, were found to have significant impact on the perceived annoyance. About 50% of variance in annoyance rating might be explained by the aforesaid subjective factors.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the hearing status of call centre operators in relation to their noise exposure. Conventional pure-tone audiometry and extended high-frequency audiometry were performed in 49 workers, aged 22–47 years (mean ± SD: 32.0 ± 6.0 years), working in call centre from 1.0 to 16.5 years (mean ± SD: 4.7 ± 2.9 years). Questionnaire inquiry aimed at collecting personal data, the information on ommunication headset usage habits, self-assessment of hearing ability and identification of risk factors for noise-induced hearing loss were also carried out. Sound pressure levels generated by the communication headset were determined using the artificial ear technique specified in CSA Z107.56-13 (2013) standard. The background noise prevailing in offices was also measured according to PN-N-01307 (1994) and PN-EN ISO 9612 (2011). Personal daily noise exposure levels in call centre operators varied from 66 to 86 dB (10–90th percentile). About half of the study subjects had normal hearing in the standard frequencies (from 250 to 8000 Hz) in both ears, while only 27.1% in the extended high-frequencies (9–16 kHz). Moreover, both high-frequency and speech-frequency hearing losses were observed in less than 10% of audiograms, while the extended high-frequency threshold shift was noted in 37.1% of analysed ears. The hearing threshold levels of call centre operators in the frequency of 0.25–11.2 kHz were higher (worse) than the expected median values for equivalent (due to age and gender) highly screened population specified in ISO 7029 (2017). Furthermore, they were also higher than predicted for 500–4000 Hz according to ISO 1999 (2013) based on the results of noise exposure evaluation.