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Abstract

The paper presents results of hearing loss measurements provided for 81 young people (from 16 to 25 years old). The main aim of the work was to find the influence of headphones of the types used (closed, semi-open, open and in-ear) on the hearing losses. The first part of the research was to answer questions about the influence of: time of listening, loudness of music, other noise exposures as well as the type of the headphones used. It turned out that all factors mentioned above influence thresholds of hearing but the found dependencies are not explicit. The greatest hearing losses were observed for people who work as sound reinforcement engineers and, moreover, no influence of the headphone types was found for them. It turned out that the use of in-ear headphones causes the greatest hearing losses for some subjects (thresholds shifted up to about 20 dB HL at 4 kHz). The daily time of a listening also affected the hearing thresholds. It was found that for users of in-ear and close headphones, an average time of musical exposure of three hours causes the hearing loss of 10-15 dB HL at higher frequencies. The use of open as well as semi-open headphones has no influence on the hearing damage. Thus it would be stated that these kinds are safety in use. Almost 15% of the investigated young people have their thresholds shifted up at higher frequencies, particularly at 4 kHz, which means that they have the first symptoms of a permanent hearing damage.
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Abstract

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.
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