In 2003 May, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the National Hearing Conservation Association (NHCA) co-sponsored a Best-Practices Workshop on Impulsive Noise and Its Effects on Hearing. The Workshop brought together leading international experts from labor, industry, and government to: (1) provide an overview of the current state of knowledge on the effects of impulsive sounds on the human auditory system; (2) develop strategies for measuring and evaluating impulsive sounds; and (3) identify specific priorities for future research. Five key needs were identified: (1) instruments and standards for measurement and evaluation of impulsive sounds; (2) international consensus on descriptors for impulsive sounds and procedures for applying results from tests on animals to models for the effect of impulsive sounds on hearing impairment of humans; (3) international consensus on procedures to evaluate the effectiveness of hearing-protection devices and of engineering noise-controls to reduce hearing impairment caused by impulsive sounds; (4) understanding of hearing impairment resulting from occupational and non-occupational exposure to impulsive sounds; and (5) international consensus agreement on a damage-risk criterion for impulsive sounds.
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