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 ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 84-89

Empirical estimation of the grades of hearing impairment among industrial workers based on new artificial neural networks and classical regression methods


1 Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Hamadan University of Medical Science, Hamadan, Iran
2 Department of Occupational Hygiene, School of Public Health, Hamadan University of Medical Science, Hamadan, Iran
3 Department of Occupational Health, School of Public Health, Kurdistan University of Medical Science, Sanandaj, Kurdistan, Iran

Correspondence Address:
Mohsen Aliabadi
Department of Occupational Hygiene, Faculty of Public Health, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan
Iran
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Source of Support: Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Conflict of Interest: None declared.


DOI: 10.4103/0019-5278.165337

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Background: Prediction models are used in a variety of medical domains, and they are frequently built from experience which constitutes data acquired from actual cases. This study aimed to analyze the potential of artificial neural networks and logistic regression techniques for estimation of hearing impairment among industrial workers. Materials and Methods: A total of 210 workers employed in a steel factory (in West of Iran) were selected, and their occupational exposure histories were analyzed. The hearing loss thresholds of the studied workers were determined using a calibrated audiometer. The personal noise exposures were also measured using a noise dosimeter in the workstations. Data obtained from five variables, which can influence the hearing loss, were used as input features, and the hearing loss thresholds were considered as target feature of the prediction methods. Multilayer feedforward neural networks and logistic regression were developed using MATLAB R2011a software. Results: Based on the World Health Organization classification for the grades of hearing loss, 74.2% of the studied workers have normal hearing thresholds, 23.4% have slight hearing loss, and 2.4% have moderate hearing loss. The accuracy and kappa coefficient of the best developed neural networks for prediction of the grades of hearing loss were 88.6 and 66.30, respectively. The accuracy and kappa coefficient of the logistic regression were also 84.28 and 51.30, respectively. Conclusion: Neural networks could provide more accurate predictions of the hearing loss than logistic regression. The prediction method can provide reliable and comprehensible information for occupational health and medicine experts.






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