Population-based age adjustment tables for use in occupational hearing conservation programs

Gregory A. Flamme, Kristy K. Deiters, Mark R. Stephenson, Christa L. Themann, William J. Murphy, David C. Byrne, David G. Goldfarb, Rachel Zeig-Owens, Charles Hall, David J. Prezant, James E. Cone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objective: In occupational hearing conservation programmes, age adjustments may be used to subtract expected age effects. Adjustments used in the U.S. came from a small dataset and overlooked important demographic factors, ages, and stimulus frequencies. The present study derived a set of population-based age adjustment tables and validated them using a database of exposed workers. Design: Cross-sectional population-based study and retrospective longitudinal cohort study for validation. Study sample: Data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (unweighted n = 9937) were used to produce these tables. Male firefighters and emergency medical service workers (76,195 audiograms) were used for validation. Results: 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). Validation outcomes showed that the population-based tables matched median longitudinal changes in hearing sensitivity well. Conclusions: These population-based tables provide a suitable replacement for those implemented in current U.S. regulations. These tables 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S20-S30
JournalInternational Journal of Audiology
Issue numbersup1
StatePublished - Jan 31 2020


  • Hearing conservation/hearing loss prevention
  • aging
  • demographics/epidemiology
  • noise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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