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
- 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