In this study the effects on hearing induced by occupational exposure to impulse noise were compared with those induced by exposure to continuous steady state noise. Three groups exposed to impulse noise, one group exposed to continuous steady state noise, and an unexposed control group were studied. The hearing thresholds of the groups were measured by a puretone audiometer three times in two workdays. None of the groups showed significant differences between the hearing thresholds measured in the morning, at midday, and in the afternoon. Group 1 with the shortest duration of exposure and group 2 with the intermediate duration of exposure to impulse noise had the highest thresholds at 6000 Hz in both ears. Group 3 with the longest duration of exposure to impulse noise had the highest thresholds asymmetrically, at 4000 Hz in the left ear and at 6000 Hz in the right ear. The group exposed to continuous steady state noise also had the highest thresholds asymmetrically, in the left ear at 6000 Hz. It was concluded that the longer the duration of exposure to impulse noise the wider the region of the frequencies that showed raised threshold shifts in both ears. Impulse noise seemed to produce permanent threshold shifts at 4000 and 6000 Hz after a shorter duration of exposure than continuous steady state noise.
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