Impact of OSHA final rule--recording hearing loss: an analysis of an industrial audiometric dataset

J Occup Environ Med. 2003 Dec;45(12):1274-80. doi: 10.1097/01.jom.0000100040.45929.42.


The 2003 Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Occupational Injury and Illness Recording and Reporting Final Rule changed the definition of recordable work-related hearing loss. We performed a study of the Alcoa Inc. audiometric database to evaluate the impact of this new rule. The 2003 rule increased the rate of potentially recordable hearing loss events from 0.2% to 1.6% per year. A total of 68.6% of potentially recordable cases had American Academy of Audiology/American Medical Association (AAO/AMA) hearing impairment at the time of recordability. On average, recordable loss occurred after onset of impairment, whereas the non-age-corrected 10-dB standard threshold shift (STS) usually preceded impairment. The OSHA Final Rule will significantly increase recordable cases of occupational hearing loss. The new case definition is usually accompanied by AAO/AMA hearing impairment. Other, more sensitive metrics should therefore be used for early detection and prevention of hearing loss.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Audiometry / standards*
  • Databases, Factual / standards
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss, Noise-Induced / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Industry
  • Male
  • Noise, Occupational / adverse effects*
  • Time Factors
  • United States
  • United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration*