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Development and initial validation of the LENS-Q (Griest-Hines et al., 2021)

journal contribution
posted on 20.05.2021, 21:11 by Susan E. Griest-Hines, Naomi F. Bramhall, Kelly M. Reavis, Sarah M. Theodoroff, James A. Henry
Purpose: A need exists to investigate the short- and long-term impact of noise exposures during and following military service on auditory health. Currently available questionnaires are limited in their ability to meet this need because of (a) inability to evaluate noise exposures beyond a limited time frame, (b) lack of consensus on scoring, (c) inability to assess impulse exposures (e.g., firearm use), (d) lack of a single questionnaire that assesses both military and nonmilitary exposures, and (e) lack of validity and reliability data. To address these limitations, the Lifetime Exposure to Noise and Solvents Questionnaire (LENS-Q) was developed. The purpose of this report is to describe the development and initial validation of the LENS-Q as a measure of self-reported noise exposure.
Method: Six hundred ninety participants, consisting of current Service members and recently military-separated (within about 2.5 years) Veterans, completed the LENS-Q, additional study questionnaires, and comprehensive audiometric testing. Noise exposure scores were computed from LENS-Q responses using a simple scoring algorithm that distinguishes between different cumulative levels of exposure and allows for the inclusion of both continuous and impulse noise exposures.
Results: The LENS-Q demonstrates good construct validity as evidenced by measures of hearing loss, tinnitus, and subjective hearing difficulties all increasing with an increase in noise exposure scores. A logistic regression, adjusting for age and sex, revealed that participants in the highest exposure group were 2.4–3.9 times more likely to experience hearing loss, 2.7–2.8 times more likely to experience tinnitus, and 3.0–3.7 times more likely to report hearing difficulties compared with individuals in the lowest exposure group.
Conclusions: The LENS-Q captures noise exposure over an individual’s lifetime and provides an alternative scoring metric capable of representing exposure to both continuous and impulse noise. Findings suggest that the LENS-Q is a valuable tool for capturing and measuring both military and nonmilitary noise exposure.

Supplemental Material S1. Lifetime Exposure to Noise and Solvents Questionnaire (LENS-Q).

Supplemental Material S2. Sample calculation of LENS-Q score.

Griest-Hines, S. E., Bramhall, N. F., Reavis, K. M., Theodoroff, S. M., & Henry, J. A. (2021). Development and initial validation of the Lifetime Exposure to Noise and Solvents Questionnaire in U.S. Service members and Veterans. American Journal of Audiology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1044/2021_AJA-20-00145

Publisher Note: This article is part of the Special Issue: Select Papers From the National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research Conference.

Funding

This work was supported by a Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program Investigator- Initiated Research Award (PR121146), a Joint Warfighter Medical Research Program Award (JW160036), and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Rehabilitation Research and Development (RR&D) Research Career Scientist (1 IK6 RX002990-01) and Career Development Awards (C2104-W; to N. F. B.). This material is the result of work supported with resources and the use of facilities at the VA RR&D National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research (VA RR&D NCRAR Center Award; C9230C) at the VA Portland Health Care System in Portland, Oregon, as well as the Department of Defense, Hearing Center of Excellence in San Antonio, Texas. The U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity, 820 Chandler Street, Fort Detrick, MD 21702-5014, is the awarding and administering acquisition office. This work was supported by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, through the Joint Warfighter Medical Research Program under Award No. W81XWH-17-1-0020.

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