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J Acoust Soc Am. 1979 May;65(5):1238-48.

Temporary threshold shifts in humans exposed to octave bands of noise for 16 to 24 hours.


Groups of human subjects were exposed in a diffuse sound field for 16--24 h to an octave-band noise centered at 4, 2, 1, or 0.5 kHz. Sound-pressure levels were varied on different exposure occasions. At specified times during an exposure, the subject was removed from the noise, auditory sensitivity was measured, and the subject was returned to the noise. Temporary threshold shifts (TTS) increased for about 8 h and then reached a plateau or asymptote. The relation between TTS and exposure duration can be described by a simple exponential function with a time constant of 2.1 h. In the frequency region of greatest loss, threshold shifts at asymptote increased about 1.7 dB for every 1 dB increase in the level of the noise above a critical level. Critical levels were empirically estimated to be 74.0 dB SPL at 4 kHz. 78 dB at 2 kHz, and 82 dB at 1 and 0.5 kHz. Except for the noise centered at 4.0 kHz, threshold shifts were maximal about 1/2 octave above the center frequency of the noise. A smaller second maximum was observed also at 7.0 kHz for the noise centered at 2.0 kHz, at 6.0 kHz for the noise centered at 1.0 kHz, and at 5.5 kHz for the noise centered at 0.5 kHz. After termination of the exposure, recovery to within 5 dB of pre-exposure thresholds was achieved within 24 h or less. Recovery can be described by a simple exponential function with a time constant of 7.1 h. The frequency contour defined by critical levels matches almost exactly the frequency contour defined by the E-weighting network.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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