Evaluating worker noise exposure levels in the presence of complex noise



Recent research into the assessment of worker noise exposure has demonstrated that the combination of impulsive noise and continuous noise creates an additional risk of developing noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).  Zhang et al (2021) demonstrated that workers exposed to non-Gaussian noise accumulated NIHL at a faster rate over their careers than worker exposed to Gaussian noise. The kurtosis statistic of the sound pressure distribution provides a means to adjust the estimated risk of hearing loss between exposure groups exposed to different types of noise.  This paper will review the results from our recent studies of kurtosis and exposure level. Some unanswered questions involve the selection of a suitable sample length to estimate kurtosis, the selection of a compensation factor to apply, and understanding the differences exhibited in short (less than 10 years) and long-term exposures and kurtosis.