Audiometry or Hearing Tests for Occupational Noise Exposure

When should hearing tests be provided?

If your employees are exposed to the following levels – hearing tests or audiometry required.

  • Exposure over 80dB(a) where the individual is known to be at risk eg they already suffer from hearing loss or are particularly sensitive to damage;
  • Exposure over 85dB(a)

What does it entail?

  • A full occupational and exposure history
  • Past medical history
  • Hearing protection insertion check
  • Otoscopic examination
  • Audiometry
  • Comparison of current results with previous audiometry results
  • Interpretation and explanation of the results to the individual
  • Provision of HSE information leaflet ‘protect your hearing’
  • Completion of ‘surveillance report form’ for Personnel Records.

How long does it take?

  • Surveillance done in accordance with the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 1995 takes 30 minutes.
  • Where hearing problems or process barriers (e.g. communication difficulties) are identified, it may take longer.
  • An additional 15 minutes is required if ear moulds need to be taken for ‘Noisebreaker®’ ear plugs.

How often should surveillance be done?

  • At pre-employment for baseline audiometry and previous exposure history is taken.
  • Surveillance is then repeated annually for 2 years.
  • Where no abnormalities are detected the surveillance is then reduced to 3 yearly.

What happens if abnormalities are detected?

  • Audiometry is repeated pre-shift to eliminate readings affected by ‘temporary threshold shift’.
  • Results of the above are reviewed and restrictions to exposure may be placed on the individual until further investigations are completed.
  • Referral to specialist is arranged.
  • If diagnosis of occupational deafness is made, the disease should be reported to the Health and Safety Executive under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR).
  • Restrictions to exposure and redeployment options may need to be considered.
  • Risk assessments should be reviewed in light of diagnosis.
  • Surveillance is repeated annually until stabilized.

Want to find out more?

For more information about our audiometry services, contact us