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Lie, A., Engdahl, B., Hoffman, H. J., Li, C. - M., & Tambs, K. (2017). Occupational noise exposure, hearing loss, and notched audiograms in the HUNT Nord-Trondelag hearing loss study, 1996-1998. Laryngoscope, 127(6), 1442–1450.
Abstract: OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS: To study the prevalence and usefulness of audiometric notches in the diagnosis of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). STUDY DESIGN: Audiograms and data on noise exposure from 23,297 men and 26,477 women, aged 20 to 101 years, from the Nord-Trondelag Hearing Loss Study, 1996-1998. METHODS: The prevalence of four types of audiometric notches (Coles, Hoffman, Wilson) and 4 kHz notch were computed in relation to occupational noise exposure, age, sex, and report of recurrent ear infections. RESULTS: The prevalence of notches in the 3 to 6 kHz range (Wilson, Hoffman, and Coles) ranged from 50% to 60% in subjects without occupational noise exposure, and 60% to 70% in the most occupationally noise-exposed men. The differences were statistically significant only for bilateral notches. For 4 kHz notches, the prevalence varied from 25% in occupationally nonexposed to 35% in the most occupationally exposed men, and the differences were statistically significant for both bilateral and unilateral notches. For women, the prevalence of notches was lower than in men, especially for 4 kHz notches, and the differences between occupationally noise exposed and nonexposed were smaller. Recreational exposure to high music was not associated with notched audiograms. CONCLUSIONS: The detection of bilateral notches and unilateral 4 kHz notches is of some value in diagnosing NIHL, especially in men. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 4 Laryngoscope, 127:1442-1450, 2017.