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Asymmetry of Occupational Noise Induced Hearing Loss: An Electrophysiological ApproachFunding The author(s) received no financial support for the research.
Introduction The question as to whether occupational noise exposure causes symmetrical or asymmetrical hearing loss is still controversial and incompletely understood.
Objective Two electrophysiological methods (cortical evoked response audiometry: CERA and auditory steady state responses: ASSR) were used to address this issue.
Method 156 subjects with a well-documented history of noise exposure, a wide range of noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) and without middle ear pathology underwent both a CERA and an ASSR examination in the context of an exhaustive medicolegal expert assessment intended for possible compensation.
Results Whatever the method (CERA or ASSR), the average electrophysiological hearing thresholds (1-2-3 kHz) are significantly worse in the left ear. The right - left differences in CERA and ASSR thresholds are strongly correlated with each other. No significant effect of frequency is found. No correlation is observed between right - left differences in hearing thresholds and either age or degree of hearing loss.
Conclusion In NIHL, there is an actual average right - left difference of about 2.23 dB, i.e., 3.2%, the left ear being more impaired.
Received: 01 October 2021
Accepted: 15 May 2022
Article published online:
29 March 2023
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