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  Patronage of the Polish Society of Audiology and Phoniatrics

vol 12. no 3. September 2013  

 Review articles
Hearing screening criteria for the performance of hearing-critical jobs
Mariola Śliwińska-Kowalska

Hearing loss is the most common of human sense organ impairments.
Hearing loss and impaired speech intelligibility not
only decrease the quality of life, but also constitute a limitation
in performing several hearing-critical jobs. Currently, pure-tone
audiometry is the most common test that is used in the field of
occupational medicine for assessing functional hearing ability. If
the thresholds are within normal limits, the employee is generally
deemed to have sufficiently good functional hearing to perform
the job safely and effectively. However, the cutoff limits for this
test differ between countries and institutions, or they are not
precisely defined. Moreover, pure-tone threshold audiometry,
performed in a sound-proof booth, is not relevant for assessing
speech intelligibility at work, because speech consists of suprathreshold
instead of threshold sounds, and jobs are frequently
performed in noisy environment. Hearing threshold shifts may
also overestimate the loss of speech communication ability at
work. Tenure, i.e. years of employment at a given workplace,
represents another factor that should be accounted for while
certifying worker’s/candidate’s ability to perform a hearing-critical
job. This article overviews audiometric hearing screening
criteria applied actually in Poland and other countries, and
indicates the need to develop efficient hearing-in-noise tests
for medico-legal certification purposes.

keywords: uszkodzenie słuchu, audiometria tonalna, testy rozumienia mowy w szumie, orzecznictwo lekarskie, rozumienia mowy w szumie, orzecznictwo lekarskie, profilaktyka, hearing loss, pure-tone audiometry, speech in noise intelligibility tests, medico-legal purpos

pages: from 105 to 111

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