Audiometry / Hearing Tests
Hearing tests are a critical practice to a Hearing Conservation Program, and are also recommended annually for any workers subject to moderate or high levels of noise in the workplace. Best practices in OH&S encourage using these hearing tests to assess and quantify a company´s noise management program. Also, they are important to prevent noise induced hearing loss in the workplace.
What is noise-induced hearing loss?
“Every day, we experience sound in our environment, such as the sounds from television and radio, household appliances, and traffic. Normally, these sounds are at safe levels that don’t damage our hearing. But sounds can be harmful when they are too loud, even for a brief time, or when they are both loud and long-lasting. These sounds can damage sensitive structures in the inner ear and cause noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
NIHL can be immediate or it can take a long time to be noticeable. It can be temporary or permanent, and it can affect one ear or both ears. Even if you can’t tell that you are damaging your hearing, you could have trouble hearing in the future, such as not being able to understand other people when they talk, especially on the phone or in a noisy room. Regardless of how it might affect you, one thing is certain: noise-induced hearing loss is something you can prevent.” (https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/noise-induced-hearing-loss)
Hearing tests and what they do:
Audiometric assessments and hearing tests help to identify problem areas, and help to create and maintain effective noise management programs. Furthermore, they help to protect workers by identifying the early onset of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), and also protect employers from liability issues by establishing baseline levels of hearing for the worker. Consequently, annual hearing tests help to prevent expensive hearing loss settlements and lawsuits, and protect the health and safety of workers. While hearing tests can be performed in house at SCS, due to a high employee number requiring said testing, we also offer the option of testing on location at your facility. Furthermore, stated under the OH&S Standards of Alberta, when an employee is exposed to noise in excess of a particular threshold (85 dBA Lex or 85 dBA Schedule 3, OH&S Code 2009), the following must occur:
- A baseline hearing test within six months of the hire date must be performed.
- A periodic hearing test taken one year after the initial baseline hearing test.
- Once every two years following (Industry best practice supports performance of the hearing test every 12 months.)
In addition, our certified audiometric technicians conduct these hearing tests with the utmost courtesy and respect to the employee; discussing how the testing works, results, and education and training regarding proper hearing protection. We also offer counseling and referrals, and discuss noise exposure risks while ensuring confidentiality.
In addition, Safety Coordination Services can tailor a Hearing Conservation Program for your company. In partnership with our expert Safety Management and Loss Control teams, we can assist your organization in finding efficient and cost-effective solutions to protect your workers, your WCB rating, and your bottom line.