Firefighter hearing health: An informatics approach to screening, measurement, and research

Oisaeng Hong, Karen A Monsen, Madeleine J Kerr, Dal Lae Chin, Amy B. Lytton, Karen S. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the use of a standardized interface terminology, the Omaha System, with respect to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Design: A descriptive, correlational design was employed for this secondary analysis with the data from an ongoing hearing protection intervention study. Study sample: A total of 346 firefighters were included. Results: First, an evidence-based standardized care plan (EB-SCP) for hearing screening was developed and validated by clinical experts. Second, occupational health records were used to compute Omaha System Knowledge, Behavior, and Status outcomes. Third, research data were mapped to Omaha System rating scales. For Knowledge, the mean score was close to 'adequate' (3.7). For Behavior, the mean score was close to 'rarely appropriate' (2.2). For Status, the mean score was close to 'minimal sign/symptom' (4.4). Significant positive relationships were found between Knowledge and Behavior (Spearman's rho =.13, p =.01), and between Behavior and hearing Status (Spearman's rho =.12, p =.02). Conclusions: Findings support the validity of the new Knowledge, Behavior, and hearing Status. Informatics methods such as the standardized NIHL EB-SCP and outcome data sets will create opportunities for clinical decision support and data exchange across various health care settings, thus supporting population-based hearing health assessments and outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)765-770
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Audiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors alone are responsible for the content and writing of the paper. The authors were partially supported by the United States Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Administration Assistance to Firefighters Grant (Grant number: EMW-2007-FP-00785, PI: Hong).


  • Firefighters
  • Hearing
  • Informatics
  • Omaha System


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