A particular kind of hearing exam is the audiometric test.
It creates a baseline measurement of the employee's hearing before repeating the test on a regular basis to check for any changes in the employee's hearing.
Why conduct an audiometric test?
Noise poses a major threat to health. Permanent noise-induced hearing loss, a frequent occupational condition in Canada, can be caused by prolonged exposure to noise that exceeds occupational exposure guidelines. Employers who have noise-exposed employees should develop and implement a hearing conservation program. The efficacy of a hearing conservation program depends on the results of an audiometric exam of a worker's hearing. If there are any early warning signs of hearing loss brought on by noise, audiometric testing can assist identify them. Due to the progressive nature of occupational hearing loss, employees frequently don't become aware of changes in their hearing capacity until a noticeable shift has taken place. Early alterations can be found by comparing audiometric testing from previous years, and the proper protective measures can then be put in place to stop future harm. Additionally, it is possible to compare overall outcomes from year to year to spot trends within professions or between various divisions at work.
What can employees anticipate from the test?
An employee takes an audiometric test while seated in a sound-treated booth or another suitable location, wearing headphones (or inserts placed into the ears). When the worker is prepared, the audiometric professional plays a sequence of tones in one ear before switching to the other through the earphones. As soon as each tone is heard, the employee indicates. The thresholds of the worker are noted for each ear either numerically on a chart or graphically on an audiogram. The audiogram demonstrates at various pitches or frequencies how loud a tone must be to be scarcely audible to the worker. The audiogram will reveal some hearing loss for high-pitched noises in the early stages of noise-induced hearing loss. The audiogram reveals a hearing loss for numerous pitches as hearing loss progresses. Advanced hearing loss might cause workers to become aware of muddled speech and background noise. Workers should anticipate receiving advice about the need for, the use of, upkeep of, and replacement of hearing protection during the audiometric test. The employee should be given an explanation of the test results. Additionally, workers must to be given a copy of their test results. Usually, the test results will be categorized as normal or abnormal. No more testing is necessary until the next scheduled test if a worker's test results are determined to be normal. If an employee's test results are determined to be abnormal, the audiometric technician may inquire further about the employee's health history and suggest that the employee seek further medical attention for more extensive testing.
Who administers audiometric evaluations?
The employer is in charge of ensuring that audiometric examinations are carried out by an audiologist or another person who is qualified and certified to do so.
Who should be tested using audiometry?
Audiometric testing ought to be applied to employees who might be subjected to overly loud noise at work. Typically, when a worker is exposed to noise levels above 85 dBA, audiometric testing is advised (a full shift averaged exposure). However, based on the legal requirements in your country, requirements might change. Think about including employees who are exposed to ototoxic substances at work as well. Ototoxicants are substances that can harm hearing either on their own or in conjunction with exposure to noise.
Where in Canadian law can you find requirements for audiometric testing?
The requirements for audiometric testing from the various Canadian jurisdictions are listed in the following references to federal, provincial, and territorial law. The jurisdiction should be contacted for the most recent information because legislation is occasionally amended. Please check with the jurisdiction if there are any additional requirements for audiometric testing that are not already covered by existing medical surveillance requirements or employer obligations. Canada Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Code Sections 223 and 224 British Columbia Occupational Health and Safety Regulation Part 7 Sections 7.8 and 7.9 Saskatchewan Part VIII Section 8-5 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations of 2022 Sections 12.4, 12.5 and 12.6 of Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health Regulation Part 12 Ontario —-New Brunswick Underground Mine Regulation Part III Section 12Quebec Regulation relating to Occupational Health and Safety Division XV Section 136Nova Scotia Isle of Prince Edward Northwest Territories Occupational Health and Safety Regulations Part 8 Section 116 and 117General Regulations Part 8 Sections 8.9 and 8.10Newfoundland and Labrador Occupational Health and Safety Regulations Part VI Section 68 Part 8 Sections 116 and 117 of the Nunavut Occupational Health and Safety Regulations Section 6 of the Yukon Territories Occupational Health Regulations"""