Hearing health is vital to one’s overall well-being, affecting the ability to communicate, perform tasks, and enjoy life. However, many people are exposed to hazardous workplace noise, which can cause permanent hearing loss and other health problems.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), about 22 million workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise yearly in the United States. This not only poses a risk to the workers’ health but also to their productivity and safety. Therefore, organizations (including federal, state, and municipal agencies) must offer audiometric assessments and conservation programs to their employees and constituents. OSHA mandates testing for anyone with an 8-hour time-weighted average of 85 dB or higher.
This is especially important for military personnel who face high noise levels in combat and training environments. Hearing loss can impair their situational awareness, communication, and readiness, severely impacting their missions and lives.
Hearing health programs can help identify and prevent hearing loss and provide education and counseling on protecting one’s hearing. By investing in hearing health services, organizations can stay OSHA-compliant and protect their most valuable asset: their people.
Let’s answer the most frequently asked questions about Solvere Health’s hearing health services, delivered on-site via mobile medical clinics or portable testing equipment.
How much experience does Solvere Health have delivering hearing health services?
Solvere has been providing hearing tests for 6+ years, often running hundreds of audio screenings daily. We also include hearing health education and can offer follow-up Complete Audiological Evaluations for subjects with a Significant Threshold Shift (STS).
What organizations does Solvere Health support with hearing assessments & hearing loss prevention education?
We offer large group testing to private, state, and federal organizations whose workforce or populace may be exposed to hazardous noise. For example, Solvere Health has provided mobile audiology testing and has conducted hearing tests using portable equipment to military personnel as part of the Reservist Health Readiness Program (RHRP). We have also conducted audio testing for the Union Pacific Railroad.
Where does Solvere Health offer hearing health services?
Solvere Health provides nationwide professional hearing evaluations and can bring hearing health to you in two ways. First, a fleet of mobile clinic trailers customized to provide ideal testing conditions for conducting audio assessments allows us to test in the most demanding environments without sacrificing office space. Second, portable audiometric sets with active background noise monitoring can be a more cost-affordable option if a quiet room at the workplace is available for testing. Clinics can be conducted with these portable sets in any sufficiently quiet area without needing a separate ambient sound level certification. A definitive multi-band background noise monitor ensures the accuracy of every test. Baseline comparisons and STS are computer-calculated with immediate results.
Do you offer any training on hearing-loss prevention?
We sure do! In fact, before every pure-tone exam, our certified technicians provide best-practice safety training and hearing health education to prevent noise-induced hearing loss.
How much does an on-site group hearing health event cost?
Our strategy team is dedicated to helping your organization stay healthy and will customize a program to meet your needs. Contact us to schedule a project scope assessment.
What kind of hearing health screening does Solvere Health conduct?
We perform pure-tone air-conduction audiometric screening tests using microprocessor audiometers on up to 8 subjects simultaneously while meeting OSHA regulations for hearing conservation programs for all mandated employees and service members
We also work with audiologists licensed in various states to provide Hearing Conservation Program oversight, audiogram review, and complete audiological evaluations, including
- pure-tone air-conduction tests
- bone conduction tests
- speech reception
- word recognition
- speech-in-noise tests
These evaluations provide an in-depth understanding of hearing loss and its likely cause.
Who completes the hearing health tests for Solvere Health?
Tests are conducted by Council for Accreditation in Occupational Hearing Conservation (CAOHC) trained audio technicians and local state-licensed audiologists.
Who should be included in an organization’s hearing conservation and testing program?
OSHA mandates that any employee exposed to an 8-hour time-weighted average of 85dB or higher is to be included in a hearing conservation program. New employees must have audiometric testing within six months of their start date or, if the employer utilizes mobile testing units, then one year from their start date. Hearing tests must be conducted annually thereafter.
How do I prepare for my visit? I’ve been selected to participate in a hearing assessment.
Audiometric tests must be conducted after at least 14 hours without exposure to any loud noise. Wearing hearing protection while at work is an exception to this guideline. Therefore, someone whose hearing has been adequately protected during their shift can attend testing immediately. Other than that, no preparation is necessary.
I’ve had my hearing tested. When should I be tested again, and how often?
Hearing tests are performed on an annual basis. If you experience a Standard Threshold Shift (STS) during your test, then your employer may opt to conduct a retest within 30 days.
What is a Standard Threshold Shift (STS)?
OSHA defines an STS as a change in hearing threshold, relative to the baseline audiogram for that employee, of an average of 10 decibels (dB) or more at 2000, 3000, and 4000 hertz (Hz) in one or both ears.
I still have an STS following a retest. Now what?
If an STS persists following a retest, then the Employee and the OSHA Office of Occupational Medicine (OOP) must be notified in writing within seven days, and the hearing loss case must be documented on the OSHA 300 log.
Your EHS manager, or Hearing Conservation Program Coordinator, should then ensure that you are properly fitted for appropriate hearing protection, trained/retrained on the use and maintenance of said hearing protection and informed of the areas that require the use of hearing protection.
Hearing health is not to be taken for granted, as it significantly impacts one’s quality of life. When hearing is endangered on the worksite, hearing health is no longer a personal matter. That’s why companies and federal, state, and municipal agencies must proactively protect their employees and constituents at high risk for hearing loss.
Activate a comprehensive hearing health initiative for your organization that includes on-site CAOHC certified hearing tests to maintain OSHA compliance; contact Solvere Health.