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Validating self-reporting of hearing-related symptoms against pure-tone audiometry,otoacoustic emission, and speech audiometry

Journal article
Authors Sofie Fredriksson
Oscar Hammar
Lennart Magnusson
Kim R. Kähäri
Kerstin Persson Waye
Published in International Journal of Audiology
Volume 55
Issue 8
Pages 454-62
ISSN 1499-2027
Publication year 2016
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Institute of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Section of Occupational and environmental medicine
Pages 454-62
Language en
Keywords Validation, questionnaire, audiometry, ljudtrötthet
Subject categories Basic Medicine


Objective: To validate self-reported hearing-related symptoms among personnel exposed to moderately high occupational noise levels at an obstetrics clinic. Design: Sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values were calculated for questionnaire items assessing hearing loss, tinnitus, sound sensitivity, poor hearing, difficulty perceiving speech, and sound-induced auditory fatigue. Hearing disorder was diagnosed by pure-tone audiometry, distortion Product otoacoustic emissions, and HINT (Hearing In Noise Test). Study sample: Fifty-five female obstetrics personnel aged 22–63 participated; including 26 subjects reporting hearing loss, poor hearing, tinnitus, or sound sensitivity, and 29 randomly selected subjects who did not report these symptoms. Results: The questionnaire item assessing sound-induced auditory fatigue had the best combination of sensitivity 85% (95% CIs 56 to 100%)and specificity 70% (95% CIs 55 to 84%) for hearing disorder diagnosed by audiometry or otoacoustic emission. Of those reporting sound-induced auditory fatigue 71% were predicted to have disorder diagnosed by otoacoustic emission. Participants reporting any hearing-related symptom had slightly worse measured hearing. Conclusions: We suggest including sound-induced auditory fatigue in questionnaires for identification of hearing disorder among Healthcare personnel, though larger studies are warranted for precise estimates of diagnostic performance. Also, more specific and accurate hearing tests are needed to diagnose mild hearing disorder.

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