Hearing assessment aboard the International Space Station



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This study undertakes to refine the understanding of the accuracy of a novel PC-based hearing assessment utilized aboard the International Space Station. During the design and construction of the ISS, time and funding constraints led to engineering compromise related to acoustics, resulting in a vehicle with excessive noise levels. To gain insight into crewmember hearing changes, a computer-based hearing assessment tool was developed, and was routinely administered by crewmembers and its data analyzed on the ground. In this study, data collected before return to earth was compared to standard pure tone audiometric data collected after landing, with the intent to demonstrate that these values were essentially identical, and that data collected onboard the ISS can be interpreted as if it were pure-tone audiometric data. However, statistical analysis of this data concluded instead that the onboard test tends to underestimate the hearing threshold, and should be further corrected or interpreted accordingly.



NIHL, audiogram, astronaut