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.
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.
Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) as one of the major avoidable occupational related health issues has been studied for decades. To assess NIHL, the excitation pattern (EP) has been considered as one of the mechanisms to estimate the movements of the basilar membrane (BM) in the cochlea. In this study, two auditory filters, dual resonance nonlinear (DRNL) filter and rounded-exponential (ROEX) filter are applied to create two EPs, the velocity EP and the loudness EP respectively. Two noise hazard metrics are proposed based on two proposed EPs to evaluate hazardous levels caused by different types of noise. Moreover Gaussian noise and tone signals are simulated to evaluate performances of the proposed EPs and the noise metrics. The results show that both EPs can reflect the responses of the BM to different types of noise. For Gaussian noise there is a frequency shift between the velocity EP and the loudness EP. The results suggest that both EPs can be used for assessment of NIHL.
Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) is a serious occupational related health problem worldwide. The A-wave impulse noise could cause severe hearing loss, and characteristics of such kind of impulse noise in the joint time-frequency (T-F) domain are critical for evaluation of auditory hazard level. This study focuses on the analysis of A-wave impulse noise in the T-F domain using continual wavelet transforms. Three different wavelets, referring to Morlet, Mexican hat, and Meyer wavelets, were investigated and compared based on theoretical analysis and applications to experimental generated A-wave impulse noise signals. The underlying theory of continuous wavelet transform was given and the temporal and spectral resolutions were theoretically analyzed. The main results showed that the Mexican hat wavelet demonstrated significant advantages over the Morlet and Meyer wavelets for the characterization and analysis of the A-wave impulse noise. The results of this study provide useful information for applying wavelet transform on signal processing of the A-wave impulse noise.