Industrial Hearing Testing
Noise-induced hearing loss is the 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 noise.
Hearing damage from noise 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 prevention of 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 also have their own guidelines, as well as the Department of Defense.
In most cases, OSHA requires that employees who are exposed to a time weighted average (TWA) of 85 dB be part of a hearing conservation program which includes hearing testing and employee training. Industrial manufacturers are also required to report evaluation results. Official hearing conservation standards are listed in OSHA CFR 29 1910.95 & MSHA Part 62.
Industrial Hearing Conservation Programs
Some companies choose to meet these requirements independently. However, most companies choose to hire out a hearing conservation company to conduct hearing evaluations, keep records, and make sure they comply with all safety standards and meet safety goals. Failure to test and/or report noise exposure levels and the impact on employees can cost companies thousands in legal fees and federal fines. Hiring a professional or company to make sure they are in complete compliance is worth it in the long run.
At Platte Valley Hearing Center, we participate in many Industrial Hearing Conservation Programs with businesses in our community. We perform on-site hearing screening services as well as provide hearing tests in our office when more complete testing is required. These services are provided by our Doctors of Audiology.
Education and Referrals
Our Audiologists 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 Audiologist will refer the employee for further testing or physician consultation as needed.
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 on the part of the employer may also be in order
Hearing evaluations are an important part of keeping industrial working environments safe for employees. Each company will need to find industrial hearing testing solutions that work for them.