Every year, Aussies working in mines, manufacturing plants, agriculture, oil or gas extraction, construction, and carpentry sectors undergo annual occupational audiometric testing. This is part of their compliance with the OSHA standard on occupational noise exposure.
What is Audiometric Testing?
If you’re working in an environment that is constantly exposed to noise levels above 85 decibels, you are required to have an occupational audiometric test to measure your hearing threshold. In such working conditions, you use personal protective equipment to protect your ears from work-induced hearing loss. This is also part of the pre-employment medical Melbourne assessment for work compliance.
It is the role of every employer to monitor workers whose noise exposure is equivalent to or greater than 85 decibels within 8 hours. Repeat monitoring is also recommended whenever there are changes in production processes or an increase in noise exposure. Employers should provide hearing protectors to all workers who are exposed to eight-hour TWA noise levels of 85 decibels or above. This ensures that all workers are protected and have access to protectors before hearing loss occurs.
As an employee, training is important so you will understand why there is a need for hearing conservation programs and the importance of protecting your hearing. Knowing the rationale behind all this will keep you motivated to wear your protectors and take audiometric tests.
When is the Best Time to Conduct Audiometric Testing?
This is usually done during off-site clinic visits where an onsite nurse or a mobile hearing testing partner conducts occupational audiometric testing. The OSHA standard on occupational noise exposure serves as the guide for compliance. This is done to ensure that the hearing of the entire workforce is protected and safe.
Before you are given an assignment in a noisy environment you are required to have occupational audiometric testing for at least 3 months. This will help establish whether or not you have significant hearing loss due to overexposure to a noisy environment. Is also possible that your previous workplace contributed to your hearing loss. Audiometric testing is part of the pre-employment medical assessment Newcastle or Melbourne centers offer to ensure that workers are compensated after prolonged exposure to a noisy environment.
What are the Signs of Work-Induced Hearing Loss?
Below are 10 signs of hearing loss:
- You have trouble understanding speech over the phone
- Keep turning up the volume of the television or radio
- You have trouble hearing consonance in speech. For instance, you can hardly distinguish the difference between s and f, between t or d, or between the th and sh sounds in speech
- Speech and other sounds around you seem muffled;
- You have a problem hearing high pitched sounds such as the doorbell, the alarm clock, the birds, and the telephone
- You keep asking other people to speak more slowly and clearly
- You are having problems understanding conversations especially when you are at a noisy place like a restaurant or the mall
- You hear ringing in your ears
- You are hypersensitive to certain sounds that may hurt your ear
- You keep asking people to speak more loudly or repeat what they just said
If you have been exposed to a noisy environment with decibels of more than 85, you have to get tested by a qualified healthcare provider for the early prevention of further hearing loss. Don’t wait until you show the above-mentioned signs of hearing loss before you visit your doctor.
Get Tested for Occupational Audiometric Testing Now
If you are exposed to loud noises for a prolonged period, the nerve endings in your inner ear may potentially die. The more exposed you are, the more dead nerve endings you will have as time goes by. As a result, you experience permanent hearing loss that cannot be corrected either by medicine or by surgery. When work-induced hearing loss happens in your workplace, it limits your ability to hear high-frequency sounds and understand speech. This will seriously impair your ability to communicate and even though you may be using hearing aids, they cannot restore your hearing to normal.
Other than audiometric testing, alcohol testing is equally important to ensure job compliance. Also, visit our blog to learn more about the pre-employment medical assessments you may need to secure employment.