Monitoring noise susceptibility: sensitivity of otoacoustic emissions and subjective audiometry.


The capacity of different audiological methods to detect a high noise susceptibility was examined in 20 normally hearing and 26 especially noise-susceptible subjects. The latter were selected from 422 soldiers in field studies: they had shown a temporary threshold shift (TTS) in pure tone audiometry (PTA) after regular training with firearms. In laboratory experiments, the TTS-positive soldiers were re-examined using greatly reduced sound intensities, which caused no TTS in a control subject group. Before and after acoustic stimulation, different subjective (PTA, high frequency audiometry (HFA), upper limit of hearing (ULH)) and objective (transiently evoked otoacoustic emissions (TEOAE), distortion products (DPOAE)) audiological tests were performed. After exposure to low impact noise in the laboratory, in both PTA and HFA, a TTS was observed in 11.5% (N = 3) of the noise-susceptible group (compared to 0% in the control group). In the TTS-positive group, deterioration of the ULH occurred in 28% (N = 7) (compared to 15% (N = 3) in the control group). An ULH improvement occurred in only one subject (3.8%) (compared to 25% (N = 5) in the control group). Significant alterations of click-evoked OAE-amplitudes were found in 26.9% (N = 7) of the selected groups, whereas stable emissions were observed in all but one subject (5%) of the control group. However, DPOAE alterations were seen in 19.2% (N = 5) of the TTS-positive soldiers but also in 25% (N = 5) of the control group. These results suggest that TEOAE provides a more sensitive and more objective method of detecting a subtle noise-induced disturbance of cochlear function than do PTA or DPOAE.


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@article{Plinkert1999MonitoringNS, title={Monitoring noise susceptibility: sensitivity of otoacoustic emissions and subjective audiometry.}, author={Peter K. Plinkert and Werner Hemmert and Wolfgang Wagner and Karsten Just and Hans Peter Zenner}, journal={British journal of audiology}, year={1999}, volume={33 6}, pages={367-82} }