J Am Acad Audiol 2001; 12(07): 337-347
DOI: 10.1055/s-0042-1745618
Original Article

Hearing Sensitivity in Adults Screened for Selected Risk Factors

Terry L. Wiley
Department of Communicative Disorders, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin
Peter Torre III
Departments of Communicative Disorders and Preventive Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin
Karen J. Cruickshanks
Departments of Preventive Medicine and Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin
David M. Nondahl
Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin
Ted S. Tweed
Departments of Communicative Disorders and Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin
› Author Affiliations


As a means of partially distinguishing age effects and other risk factors in presbyacusis, hearing thresholds for 56– to 65–year-old participants screened for exclusion of selected risk factors were compared with thresholds for 48– to 55–year-old participants without the same risk factors. Hearing thresholds for both age groups were also compared with age-appropriate International Standards Organization (ISO) norms. Even after screening participants for exclusion of selected risk factors, differences in hearing sensitivity remained across age groups. Across the male and female groups, thresholds were generally better (lower) for 48 to 55 year olds than for 56 to 65 year olds. ISO norms generally underestimated the degree of hearing loss for participants of comparable age in the present study. The underestimation was small at lower test frequencies, was generally greater for men, and was largest at test frequencies above 2000 Hz.

Abbreviations: ANSI = American National Standards Institute, EHLS = Epidemiology of Hearing Loss Study, ISO = International Standards Organization

Publication History

Article published online:
03 March 2022

© 2001. American Academy of Audiology. This article is published by Thieme.

Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc.
333 Seventh Avenue, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10001, USA


  • American National Standards Institute. (1989). American National Standard Specification for Audiometers. (ANSI
  • 53.6- 1989). New York: ANSI.
  • American National Standards Institute. (1991). American National Standard Maximum Permissible Ambient Noise Levels for Audiometric Test Rooms. (ANSI S3.1–1991). New York: ANSI.
  • American National Standards Institute. (1996). American National Standard Specification for Audiometers. (ANSI
  • 53.6- 1996). New York: ANSI.
  • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (1978). Guidelines for manual pure tone threshold audiometry. ASHA 20:297–301.
  • Brant LJ, Fozard JL. (1990). Age changes in pure-tone hearing thresholds in a longitudinal study of normal hearing aging. J Acoust Soc Am 88:813–820.
  • Bunch CC. (1929). Age variations in auditory acuity. Arch Otolaryngol 9:625–636.
  • Corso JF. (1963). Age and sex differences in pure-tone thresholds. Arch Otolaryngol 77:385–405.
  • Cruickshanks KJ, Klein R, Klein BEK, Wiley TL, Nondahl DM, Tweed TS. (1998a). Cigarette smoking and hearing loss. The Epidemiology of Hearing Loss Study. JAMA 279:1715–1719.
  • Cruickshanks KJ, Wiley TL, Tweed TS, Klein BEK, Klein R, Mares-Perlman JA, Nondahl DM. (1998b). Prevalence of hearing loss in older adults in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. The Epidemiology of Hearing Loss Study. Am J Epidemiol 148:879–886.
  • Dalton DS, Cruickshanks KJ, Wiley TL, Klein BEK, Klein R, Tweed TS. (2001). Association of leisure-time noise exposure and hearing loss. Audiology 40:1–9.
  • Deeg DJH, Kardaun JWPF, Fozard JL. (1996). Health, behavior, and aging. In: Birren JE, Schaie KW, eds. Handbook of the Psychology of Aging. New York: Academic Press, 129–149.
  • Gates GA, Cooper JC Jr, Kännel WB, Miller NJ. (1990). Hearing in the elderly: the Framingham cohort, 1983–1985. Part I. Basic audiometric test results. Ear Hear 11:247–256.
  • Gates GA, Cobb JL, D’Agostino B, Wolf PA. (1993). The relation of hearing in the elderly to the presence of cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular risk factors. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 119:156–161.
  • Gates GA, Couropmitree NN, Myers RH. (1999). Genetic associations in age-related hearing thresholds. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 125:654—659.
  • Goycoolea MV, Goycoolea HG, Farfan CR, Rodriguez LG, Martinez GC, Vidal R. (1986). Effect of life in industrialized societies on hearing in natives of Easter Island. Laryngoscope 96:1391–1396.
  • Idler EL. (1993). Age differences in self-assessments of health: age changes, cohort differences, or survivorship? J Gerontol B Psychol Sei Soc Sei 48:S289–S300.
  • International Standards Organization. (1984). Acoustics— Threshold of Hearing by Air Conduction as a Function of Age and Sex for Otologically Normal Persons. (ISO 7029). Geneva: ISO.
  • International Standards Organization. (1990). Acoustics— Determination of Occupational Noise Exposure and Estimation of Noise-Induced Hearing Impairment. (ISO 1999). Geneva: ISO.
  • Jagger C, Clarke M, Clarke SJ. (1991). Getting older— feeling younger: the changing health profile of the elderly. Int J Epidemiol 20:234–238.
  • Jarvis JF, van Heerden HG. (1962). The acuity of hearing in the Kalahari Bushmen: a pilot study. J Larnygol Otol 81:63–68.
  • Johnsson LG, Hawkins JE. (1972). Vascular changes in the human inner ear associated with aging. Ann Otol 81:364–376.
  • Klein R, Klein BEK, Linton KLP (1992). Prevalence of age-related maculopathy: the Beaver Dam Eye Study. Ophthalmology 99:933–943.
  • Makishima K. (1978). Arteriolar sclerosis as a cause of presbycusis. J Otorhinolaryngol 86:322–326.
  • Manton KG, Corder LS, Stallard E. (1993). Estimates of change in chronic disability and institutional incidence and prevalence rates in the U.S. elderly population from the 1982,1984, and 1989 National Long Term Care survey. J Gerontol B Psychol Sei Soc Sei 48:S153–S166.
  • Mills JH. (1992). Noise-induced hearing loss: effects of age and existing hearing loss. In: Dancer A, Henderson D, Salvi RJ, Hamernik RP, eds. Noise-Induced Hearing Loss. St. Louis: Mosby Year Book, 237–245.
  • Mills JH, Dubno JR, Boettcher FA. (1998). Interaction of noise-induced hearing loss and presbyacusis. Scand Audiol 27(Suppl 48): 117–122.
  • Moller MB. (1981). Hearing in 70 and 75 year old people: results from a cross sectional and longitudinal population study. Am J Otolaryngol 2:22–29.
  • Moscicki EK, Elkins EF, Baum HM, McNamara PM. (1985). Hearing loss in the elderly: an epidemiologic study of the Framingham heart study cohort. Ear Hear 6:184–190.
  • National Center for Health Statistics. (1967). Data from the National Health Survey: Cigarette Smoking and Health Characteristics, July 1964–Mune 1965. Vital Health Statistics, Publ. Ser. 10, No. 34,11,14. Washington, DC: US Public Health Service.
  • National Institute on Aging. (1999). Age Page. Hearing and Older People. http://www.nih.gov.Znia/health/pub- pub/hearing.htm. Accessed 01–10–01.
  • Nondahl DM, Cruickshanks KJ, Wiley TL, Tweed TS, Klein R, Klein BEK. (1998). Accuracy of self-reported hearing loss. Audiology 37:295–301.
  • Nondahl DM, Cruickshanks KJ, Wiley TL, Klein R, Klein BEK, Tweed TS. (2000) Recreational firearm use and hearing loss. Arch Fam Med 9:352–357.
  • Rosen S, Bergman M, Plester D, El-Mofty A, Satti MH. (1962). Presbycusis study of a relatively noise-free population in the Sudan. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol 71:727–743.
  • Rosen S, Olin P. (1965). Hearing loss and coronary heart disease. Arch Otolaryngol 82:236–243.
  • Rosenhall U, Pedersen K, SvanborgA. (1990). Presbycusis and noise-induced hearing loss. Ear Hear 11:257–263.
  • Rubinstein M, Hildesheimer M, Zohar S, Chilarovitz T. (1977). Chronic cardiovascular pathology and hearing loss in the aged. Gerontology 23:4–9.
  • Satterthwaite FW. (1946). An approximate distribution of estimates of variance components. Biometr Bull 2:110–114.
  • Schuknecht HF. (1993). Pathology of the Ear. Baltimore: Lea & Febiger, 255—277.
  • Siegelaub AB, Friedman GD, Adour K, Seltzer CC. (1974). Hearing loss in adults: relation to age, sex, exposure to loud noise and cigarette smoking. Arch Environ Health 29:107–109.
  • Steel RGD, Torrie JH. (1980). Principles and Procedures of Statistics. 2nd Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Susmano A, Rosenbush SW. (1988). Hearing loss and ischemic heart disease. Am J Otol 9:403–408.
  • U.S. Bureau of the Census. (1998). Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1998. 118th Ed. Washington, DC.
  • Wackym PA, Storper IS, Newman AN. (2000). Cochlear and vestibular ototoxicity. In: Canalis RF, Lambert PR, eds. The Ear: Comprehensive Otology. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 571–585.
  • Waudby C. (1984). Hearing threshold levels according to age. Br J Audiol 18:55–57.
  • Wiley TL, Stoppenbach DT. (1994). Audiologic identification and monitoring of ototoxicity. Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2:420–425.
  • Wiley TL, Cruickshanks KJ, Nondahl DM, Tweed TS, Klein R, Klein BEK. (1998). Aging and high-frequency hearing sensitivity. J Speech Lang Hear Res 41:1061–1072.