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Keywords:

  • hearing loss;
  • noise-induced hearing loss;
  • children;
  • youth;
  • agriculture;
  • farming

Abstract

Background

Hearing loss is prevalent among adults in the farming community, with some evidence it begins in childhood. Our objective was to compare hearing thresholds of Ohio farm youth to published data on national norms.

Methods

Baseline data were collected on youth (n = 212) in 1994–1996 with follow-up (n = 132) in 2003–2004 including pure-tone air conduction thresholds at 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8 kHz.

Results

When compared to nationally-representative data, study youth had a higher prevalence of hearing loss. The high-frequency range was most affected, particularly at 6 kHz where nearly 50% of the farm youth exhibited some degree of hearing loss at baseline testing. The prevalence of noise-induced threshold shifts, characterized by an audiometric notch, was nearly twice that of the national sample.

Conclusions

These data suggest that hearing loss, which is common among adult farmers, may be problematic for farm youth as well. Am. J. Ind. Med. 52:233–239, 2009. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.