Comparison of audiometric screening criteria for the identification of noise-induced hearing loss in adolescents.

University of Northern Colorado, Audiology & Speech-Language Sciences, Campus Box 140, Greeley, CO 80639, USA.
American Journal of Audiology (Impact Factor: 1.07). 12/2007; 16(2):S190-202. DOI: 10.1044/1059-0889(2007/023)
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To ascertain whether current pure-tone school hearing screening criteria used across the United States are adequate for the early identification of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) in adolescents.
School-based pure-tone hearing screening protocols were collected, reviewed, and consolidated from 46 state agencies. A retrospective categorical analysis of air-conduction audiometric thresholds from a computerized database of 9th-grade (n = 376) and 12th-grade (n = 265) students from a suburban high school was conducted. The database analysis was designed to determine whether each screening protocol would identify high-frequency notched audiometric configurations suggestive of NIHL when using the noise notch criteria described by A. S. Niskar et al. (2001).
All of the school-based hearing screening criteria identified significantly (p <or= .05) fewer students with a high-frequency notch (HFN) than the noise notch protocol regardless of screening decibel level specified. Over half of the school-based hearing screening protocols used in the United States will identify only 22% of the students with an HFN and consequently would fail to detect a potential NIHL.
Currently implemented school-based hearing screening guidelines are nonstandardized and inadequate for the early identification of NIHL. This denies the majority of students the opportunity to receive early intervention and to prevent further progression of NIHL. It is necessary to identify, standardize, and implement effective and efficient screening or monitoring programs for the early detection and prevention of NIHL in adolescents.

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    ABSTRACT: Several researchers have suggested the prevalence of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is increasing among secondary school students. Causes include exposure to loud music and toys, firearms, power tools, fireworks, snowmobiles, Jet Skis, motorcycles and, especially, personal stereo systems (e.g., iPods, MP3 players, CD players) played at loud volumes. Although teachers and audiologists in some school districts have addressed this problem, many secondary schools do not have personnel with adequate time and expertise to educate students about protecting their hearing. The purpose of this study was to develop, implement, and evaluate a hearing conservation program offered during recruitment of local, high school students to a USA university. Specifically, faculty in the university's College of Health Professions offered 20-minute presentations about their discipline during open houses to recruit high school students. This included two audiologists from the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) who presented 32, interactive, hearing conservation sessions to about 800 students divided into groups of 10 to 30 students. The presentation was entitled,"You Only Have Two Ears: Protecting Hearing of Teenagers." Each group learned about basic anatomy of the ear, listened to a recorded simulation of NIHL; tried different hearing protection devices; and measured sound intensities of their personal stereo systems. Verbal and written comments by students indicated improvements in their knowledge and attitudes toward protecting their hearing. We are continuing and refining this hearing conservation program to educate local secondary school students about protecting their hearing while simultaneously recruiting some of them into their programs.