Field Monitoring of Otoacoustic Emissions During Noise Exposure: Pilot Study in Controlled Environment Purpose In spite of all the efforts to implement workplace hearing conservation programs, noise-induced hearing loss remains the leading cause of disability for North American workers. Nonetheless, an individual's susceptibility to noise-induced hearing loss can be estimated by monitoring changes in hearing status in relation to the level of ambient ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 12, 2017
Field Monitoring of Otoacoustic Emissions During Noise Exposure: Pilot Study in Controlled Environment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Vincent Nadon
    École de Technologie Supérieure, Montréal, Québec, Canada
  • Annelies Bockstael
    WAVES Research Group, Ghent University, Belgium
  • Dick Botteldooren
    WAVES Research Group, Ghent University, Belgium
  • Jérémie Voix
    École de Technologie Supérieure, Montréal, Québec, Canada
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Vincent Nadon: vincent.nadon@etsmtl.ca; Jérémie Voix: jeremie.voix@etsmtl.ca
  • Annelies Bockstael is now at the Université de Montréal, Québec, Canada.
    Annelies Bockstael is now at the Université de Montréal, Québec, Canada.×
  • Editor-in-Chief: Sumitrajit Dhar
    Editor-in-Chief: Sumitrajit Dhar×
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Hearing Disorders / Special Issue: Select Papers From the Hearing Across the Lifespan (HEAL) 2016 Conference / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 12, 2017
Field Monitoring of Otoacoustic Emissions During Noise Exposure: Pilot Study in Controlled Environment
American Journal of Audiology, October 2017, Vol. 26, 352-368. doi:10.1044/2017_AJA-17-0003
History: Received January 17, 2017 , Revised May 15, 2017 , Accepted May 16, 2017
 
American Journal of Audiology, October 2017, Vol. 26, 352-368. doi:10.1044/2017_AJA-17-0003
History: Received January 17, 2017; Revised May 15, 2017; Accepted May 16, 2017

Purpose In spite of all the efforts to implement workplace hearing conservation programs, noise-induced hearing loss remains the leading cause of disability for North American workers. Nonetheless, an individual's susceptibility to noise-induced hearing loss can be estimated by monitoring changes in hearing status in relation to the level of ambient noise exposure. The purpose of this study was to validate an approach that could improve workplace hearing conservation practices. The approach was developed using a portable and robust system designed for noisy environments and consisted of taking continuous measurements with high temporal resolution of the health status of the inner ear using otoacoustic emissions (OAEs).

Method A pilot study was conducted in a laboratory, exposing human subjects to industrial noise recordings at realistic levels. In parallel, OAEs were measured periodically using the designed OAE system as well as with a commercially available OAE system, used as a reference.

Results Variations in OAE levels were analyzed and discussed along with the limitations of the reference and designed systems.

Conclusions This study demonstrates that the monitoring of an individual's OAEs could be useful in monitoring temporary changes in hearing status induced by exposure to ambient noise and could be considered as a new tool for effective hearing conservation programs in the workplace.

Acknowledgments
Annelies Bockstael was a postdoctoral fellow of the Research Foundation—Flanders (FWO) up until January 2017; the support of this organization is gratefully acknowledged. The ETS-affiliated authors would like to acknowledge the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Individual Discovery Grant Program and the Fond de Recherche Nature et Technologies Nouveau Chercheur award for its financial support, as well as for technical support provided by EERS Technologies 4.0 Inc. through the NSERC-EERS Industrial Research Chair in In-Ear Technology for prototyping the experimental otoacoustic emission probes. Vincent Nadon is grateful to the Institut de Recherche Robert-Sauvé en Santé et Sécurité du Travail for its financial support and would also like to thank Georges Hart at Lapperre for granting him access to the otoadmittance system.
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