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To the Editor.—We have followed with interest the article in the Archives by Kulczycki et al, "The Hearing of Patients With Cystic Fibrosis" (92:54, 1970), the related letter to the editor by Siegel and Taylor (92:523, 1970), and Dr. Kulczycki's reply. Whereas Kulczycki et al found a 27% incidence of mild conductive hearing loss in 41 children with cystic fibrosis (C/F), Siegel and Taylor reported a 0% incidence in 23 C/F children when the same audiometric "fail" criterion used by Kulczycki et al was applied.
In our opinion this discrepancy simply highlights the inherent difficulty in defining incidence of hearing loss according to arbitrary audiometric criteria. Variables of ambient noise in the test environment, age and motivation of the child, skill and diligence of the audiometrist, and accuracy of calibration of the audiometer all make it extremely hazardous to compare "incidence" figures according to a fixed criterion
JERGER J, NEELY JG. AUDIOMETRIC TESTING. Arch Otolaryngol. 1971;93(1):111–112. doi:10.1001/archotol.1971.00770060143028