Industrial Hearing Screening
Hearing damage is a real and unfortunate effect of long-term exposure to loud noise. Noise is a hazard of industrial workers and workers of any occupation who are repeatedly exposed to loud noises. This may include individuals who work in factories, construction sites, mill workers, musicians and airport personnel.
Noise-induced hearing loss is fully preventable when the right precautions are taken from the start. Regular hearing tests to evaluate any early signs of hearing loss, as well as everyday preventative measures such as the use of ear plugs go a long way toward preventing permanent hearing loss.
Industrial hearing test requirements
Organizations such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have enacted requirements and procedures for hearing conservation in an effort to standardize hearing safety practices and reduce the incidence of preventable hearing damage. Some states, as well as the Department of Defense, have their own guidelines.
In most cases, OSHA requires that employees who are exposed to a time weighted average (TWA) of 85 dBA be part of a hearing conservation program which includes hearing testing and employee training. Industrial manufacturers are also required to report evaluation results. A summary of OSHA’s hearing conservation program can be found on their website here: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/osha3074.pdf
Education and referrals
OHC Technicians are trained to detect possible indications of early hearing loss as well as provide training for employees. If a possible hearing problem is detected, the technician will refer the employee for further tests by a hearing specialist.
Basic education and training for employees may include how to properly fit and wear hearing protection devices. Some employees may require more sophisticated and customized hearing protection. Environmental modifications or administrative controls implemented by the employer may also be in order.