ABSTRACT: With the aim of investigating the capability of otoacoustic emission (OAE) in the detection of low levels of noise-induced hearing loss, audiometric and otoacoustic data of young workers (age: 18-35) exposed to different levels of industrial noise have been recorded. These subjects are participating in a long-term longitudinal study, in which audiometric, exposure (both professional and extra-professional), and OAE data (transient evoked and distortion product) will be collected for a period of several years. All measurements have been performed, during routine occupational health surveillance, with a standard clinical apparatus and acquisition procedure, which can be easily used in the occupational safety practice. The first study was focused on the correlation between transient evoked OAE signal-to-noise ratio and distortion product (DPOAE) OAE level and the audiometric threshold, investigating the causes of the rather large intersubject variability of the OAE levels. The data analysis has shown that, if both OAE data and audiometric data are averaged over a sufficiently large bandwidth, the correlation between DPOAE levels and audiometric hearing threshold is sufficient to design OAE-based diagnostic tests with good sensitivity and specificity also in a very mild hearing loss range, between 10 and 20 dB.
The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 08/2007; 122(1):387-401. · 1.55 Impact Factor