Commentary on the regulatory implications of noise-induced cochlear neuropathy

Robert A. Dobie, Larry E. Humes

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Objective: A discussion on whether recent research on noise-induced cochlear neuropathy in rodents justifies changes in current regulation of occupational noise exposure. Design: Informal literature review and commentary, relying on literature found in the authors’ files. No formal literature search was performed. Study sample: Published literature on temporary threshold shift (TTS) and cochlear pathology, in humans and experimental animals, as well as the regulations of the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Results: Humans are less susceptible to TTS, and probably to cochlear neuropathy, than rodents. After correcting for inter-species audiometric differences (but not for differences in susceptibility), exposures that caused cochlear neuropathy in rodents already exceed OSHA limits. Those exposures also caused “pathological TTS” (requiring more than 24 h to recover), which does not appear to occur with human broadband noise exposure permissible under OSHA. Conclusion: It would be premature to conclude that noise exposures permissible under OSHA can cause cochlear neuropathy in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-78
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Audiology
StatePublished - Jan 23 2017


  • Noise-induced
  • neuropathy
  • occupational safety and health administration
  • permissible exposure limit
  • regulation
  • species
  • temporary threshold shift

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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