Duane Robinson

Project title: Association between veteran status and measures of noise induced hearing loss: A cross-sectional analysis of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2015-2016 data

Degree: MPH | Program: Occupational and Environmental Medicine (OEM) | Project type: Thesis/Dissertation
Completed in: 2020 | Faculty advisor: Debra Cherry


Purpose This study hypothesized differences would exist in NIHL markers among veterans compared to non-veterans. Methods A data set of 10,000 NHANES records, dating from 2015 to 2016, was obtained from the Department of Health and Human Services website. Records with a complete audiometric exam were examined to exclude subjects with ear disease that would invalidate the audiometric exam. A total of 1,473 records met these criteria. The audiometric notch metric was calculated for each subject’s left and right ear using the criteria described by Dobie and Rabinowitz. Notch indexes between negative one (-1) to positive one (+1) were considered normal. Notch indexes below negative one were considered a sign of presbycusis and NIHL was assumed with notch indices greater than positive 1. Univariate statistics were used to examine the sample data. Binaural averages of audiometric scores were also calculated for each subject. Regression analyses were done on the data before and after NHANES weighting codes were applied, using the R ‘survey()’ package. Results No statistically significant evidence of increased risk of notch or elevated binaural average was detected among veterans when compared to non-veterans using weighted and unweighted NHANES regressions using the 2015-2016 NHANES data. URI