Notched-noise and quiet detection thresholds as early indicators of auditory system damage in school-aged children
Keywords:Ability testing, Acoustic noise, Acoustic noise measurement, Health risks, Psychophysiology, Audiometric screening, Notched-noise detection thresholds
AbstractChildren may be exposed to harmful levels of environmental and recreational noise, the negative effects of which may be cumulative over the child's lifetime. Early detection is an important component of hearing health promotion programs but audiometric screening methods may be relatively insensitive to early stages of damage. This paper reports on a preliminary study that examined notched-noise detection thresholds and audiometric thresholds at 1000 and 4000 Hz in 30 elementary- and 30 high-school- aged students as indicators of auditory system damage. Damage due to noise exposure, if present, was expected to be revealed by an elevation in 4000 Hz thresholds for the older listeners, especially when the notched-noise thresholds were examined. Consistent with expectations, the notched-noise detection thresholds obtained from the high school-aged students at 4000 Hz largely fell at least one standard deviation above those obtained from the younger children at that frequency. No such differences were found for the notched-noise thresholds measured at 1000 Hz, or for the audiometric thresholds measured at either frequency. These results suggest that auditory system damage may be appearing relatively early and that this damage may be detectable when non-traditional audiometric measures are used.
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