1260 Relevance of audiometric hse categorization reference values and modernization

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IntroductionAudiometry plays a vital role in both a preventative and screening aspect in Occupational Medicine. It serves to quickly triage and identify those individuals at risk for progressive hearing loss in noisy environments and adherence to requirements in specific professions. To facilitate appropriate referral pathways, a system of categorisation HSE/HSA has been developed ranging from 1 (acceptable hearing) to 3 (Poor hearing) based on comparisons for age and gender – this allows for trained professionals who are not specialist per se to be involved in testing.This paper examines series of audiograms performed for the purpose of pre-employment to establish whether the expected distribution of 80th, 20th, 5th percentile of the normal population respectively for category 1 to 3, is in keeping with the actual values of the tested populations and, if at all there is a ‘Healthy worker effect ‘ which refers to the working population having a favourable morbidity profile.MethodsSequential Analysis of 1000 Pre-employment Audiograms and their computer generated HSE CategorizationResultThe results are compared to the population sample used for standardisation of the HSE categorization.DiscussionThe question arises of whether there is a need to update current age- gender adjusted reference values of the categorization tables, taking in to account the increased sound exposure to both environmental and Personal devices resultant of Modernization.

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