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August 11, 2022

Age Correction and Re-write of OSHA Technical Manual – Section III, Chapter 5, Noise

There is exciting news for hearing conservation programs. Per OSHA Directive TED-01-00-015, there has been "a complete update and revision of this chapter." This revision includes approving the use of NHANES data for age correction of audiograms. Two brief excerpts from Chapter 5:

1) "A set of population-based age adjustment tables have recently been developed using data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) which was then validated using a database of exposed workers (male firefighters and emergency medical service workers). Results from this validation study (https://doi.org/10.1080/14992027.2019.1698068) included: cross-sectional trends implied less change with age than assumed in current U.S. regulations; different trends were observed among people identifying with non-Hispanic Black race/ethnicity; four age adjustment tables (age range: 18-85) were developed (women or men; non-Hispanic Black or other race/ethnicity); and, validation outcomes showed that the population-based tables matched median longitudinal changes in hearing sensitivity well. This study concludes that these population-based tables provide a suitable replacement for those implemented in the current noise standard and that the tables based on the NHANES data address a broader range of worker ages, account for differences in hearing sensitivity across race/ethnicity categories, and have been validated for men using longitudinal data. These age adjustment tables can be found in the supplemental material from the study."

2) "…if age correction is to be performed then NHANES data is recommended for use instead of the tables in the noise standard."

This critical change to better align age correction values with population hearing levels was made possible by NHCA member research. See reference to the validation study below.

Flamme, G.A., K.K. Deiters, M.R. Stephensen, C.L. Themann, W.J. Murphy, and D.C. Byrne. 2019. Population-based age adjustment tables for use in occupational hearing conservation programs. International Journal of Audiology. 59, 20-30. 

Latest NHCA "Listen Up" Column in the Industrial Hygiene in the Workplace (IHW) Magazine

Every two months, NHCA experts contribute a short article to the IHW Magazine. The latest issue included the NHCA article titled "What's a Problem Audiogram" by Theresa Small (https://industrialhygienepub.com/digital-edition/, July/Aug issue, page 62). Future and past IHW magazine issues can also be viewed here. We'll alert you the next time one of our NHCA experts contributes an article.

Recent Hearing Research

We Need Your Pics - Please Help Us Improve Your NHCA Website

We know our members have some very cool pics of their work in action. We want to highlight this important work on our Website. We also need some abstract hearing-related pics/art. Please send us what you have even if you aren't sure it will work - no judgement! Please submit your images to Don Finan at [email protected]. If your photo is chosen, we'll send a release form for your signature so we can legally use it. Only a select number of images may be used over time, and photos may be cropped. Thank you!

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We are a group of passionate hearing conservationists willing to share their expertise in the quest for the prevention of hearing loss.  Professionally we are hearing conservationists, audiologists, physicians, industrial hygienists, safety specialists, engineers, scientists, occupational health nurses, educators, equipment manufacturers, attorneys, and others, working in private, public, educational, and military sectors.  
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Marjorie Grantham - Editor
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