1583 Evaluation of the kurtosis metric in the prediction of hearing trauma in humans associated with industrial noise exposures

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Abstract

Introduction

It is clear from numerous experiments that current noise standards underestimated hearing trauma by complex noise (defined as a background Gaussian noise with embedded high-level transients), and that an energy metric alone is not sufficient to characterise a complex noise for hearing conservation purposes. In this study, a statistical metric of the noise amplitude distribution known as the kurtosis, is evaluated in the prediction of hearing trauma in humans associated with industrial noise exposures.

Methods

A human database including 1500 subjects exposed to diverse industrial noises (n=650 Gaussian noises, n=850 complex noises) was used to analyse the interaction between an energy metric and kurtosis with respect to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Two kurtosis-corrected NIHL prediction models are studied. One kurtosis correction was made through the exposure time; the other was made through exposure energy. The prevalence of NIHL was determined based on:

Results

The dose-response relation for the complex noise-exposed subjects showed a higher prevalence of hearing loss for a comparable cumulative noise exposure (CNE) than did the Gaussian noise-exposed subjects. By introducing the kurtosis variable into the CNE calculation, the two dose-response curves could be made to overlap, essentially yielding an equivalent noise-induced effect for the two study groups.

Conclusion

Kurtosis adjustment of CNE improved the correlation with NIHL and provided a single metric for dose–response effects across diverse types of noise. The kurtosis-adjusted CNE metric may be a reasonable candidate for use in NIHL risk assessment across a wide variety of noise environments

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