Simplified risk assessment of noise induced hearing loss by means of 2 spreadsheet models
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National Institute of Occupational Health, Oslo, Norway (Department of Occupational Medicine and Epidemiology)
Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway
Online publication date: 2016-10-14
Corresponding author
Arve Lie   

National Institute of Occupational Health, Department of Occupational Medicine and Epidemiology, P.O. Box 8149 Dep, N-0033 Oslo, Norway
Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2016;29(6):991–999
Objectives: The objective of this study has been to test 2 spreadsheet models to compare the observed with the expected hearing loss for a Norwegian reference population. Material and Methods: The prevalence rates of the Norwegian and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) definitions of hearing outcomes were calculated in terms of sex and age, 20–64 years old, for a screened (with no occupational noise exposure) (N = 18 858) and unscreened (N = 38 333) Norwegian reference population from the Nord-Trøndelag Hearing Loss Study (NTHLS). Based on the prevalence rates, 2 different spreadsheet models were constructed in order to compare the prevalence rates of various groups of workers with the expected rates. The spreadsheets were then tested on 10 different occupational groups with varying degrees of hearing loss as compared to a reference population. Results: Hearing of office workers, train drivers, conductors and teachers differed little from the screened reference values based on the Norwegian and the NIOSH criterion. The construction workers, miners, farmers and military had an impaired hearing and railway maintenance workers and bus drivers had a mildly impaired hearing. The spreadsheet models give a valid assessment of the hearing loss. Conclusions: The use of spreadsheet models to compare hearing in occupational groups with that of a reference population is a simple and quick method. The results are in line with comparable hearing thresholds, and allow for significance testing. The method is believed to be useful for occupational health services in the assessment of risk of noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) and the preventive potential in groups of noise-exposed workers. Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2016;29(6):991–999