It’s a common belief that people with a hearing impairment just can’t hear loud
sounds, but it’s more complicated than that.
The main problems caused by hearing loss are:
- Soft or low frequency sounds where key parts of particular speech sounds may not
- Sounds are difficult to separate, so voices become jumbled with background noise
- A reduced range of hearing may make loud sounds intolerable.
If your employees are frequently required to use personal hearing protection to reduce the risk of hearing loss associated with noise that exceeds the exposure standard then they should have audiometric testing.
85dB or above over an 8 hours shift >140dB exposure level. Any exposure above this level can create almost instant damage to hearing.
Audiometric testing should be done prior to commencing the role or at least within the first 3 months of employment to establish a baseline as a reference for future audiometric testing.
Additional testing for monitoring:
<100dB exposure – a test every 2 years.
>100 dB exposure – a test every 6 months.
There are many roles where workers are at risk of hearing loss in the workplace. Employees subjected to ototoxic chemicals and noise are at risk as exposure to some chemicals such as solvents, heavy metals and asphyxiants can result in hearing loss.
Workers subject to vibration and noise are at risk also. Some tools and equipment which expose a worker to both are:
- concrete breakers
- sanders and drills
- lawn mowers
- brush cutters
Talk to our corporate team to find out how you can organise an audiometry test and monitor your employees hearing.
For further information visit the the SafeWork website here