CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · Int Arch Otorhinolaryngol 2023; 27(03): e499-e510
DOI: 10.1055/s-0042-1750766
Original Research

Asymmetry of Occupational Noise Induced Hearing Loss: An Electrophysiological Approach

1   Federal Agency for Occupational Risks, Brussels, Belgium
Jean Lebacq
2   University of Louvain, Neurosciences, Brussels, Belgium
› Author Affiliations
Funding 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.

Publication History

Received: 01 October 2021

Accepted: 15 May 2022

Article published online:
29 March 2023

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