Adjusting historical noise estimates by accounting for hearing protection use: A probabilistic approach and validation

Hind Sbihi, Kay Teschke, Ying MacNab, Hugh W. Davies

Abstract


A study was conducted to examine an approach to account for hearing protection devices (HPD) and to validate the novel exposure measures by testing the predictive ability of the HPD-adjusted noise estimates to predict noise-induced hearing loss. Mixed effect models were used to handle the binary response for use of HPD and the nested structure of the data. This model was applied to the study cohort and obtained predicted probability of use of HPD for each combination of calendar year/job/exposure level. The study also proposed to examine the predictive validity of the re-estimated noise estimates against a well-established noise health effects, namely noise-induced hearing loss. Additional information gathered by audiometric technicians can also be used and accounted for in the noise-hearing loss relation. The study also showed that adjusting for HPD use led to a stronger and more significant noise-hearing loss relationship than exposure estimates with no adjustment.

Keywords


Ability testing; Audition; Ear protectors; Electric breakdown; Mathematical models; Probability; Risk assessment; Adjusting; Binary responses; Health effects; Hearing losses; Hearing protection devices; Hearing protections; Mixed effects; Nested structures; Predictive abilities; Probabilistic approaches

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