The purpose of an audiometry exam is to test your ability to hear sounds at different frequencies and determine whether you have experienced hearing loss.
While it’s common to be tested in grade school, there are instances when your hearing may be evaluated again as an adult. Based on your hobbies, activities, or work environment, it’s possible the sounds you’ve encountered have impacted the functionality of your outer, middle, or inner ear. For example, some professions, like construction work, can experience great noise exposure increasing the chances of impaired hearing. Because of this, employers are required to provide a hearing conservation program when employee noise exposures are equal to or exceed 85 decibels (dB) averaged over eight working hours, or an eight-hour time-weighted average (TWA). These hearing tests should happen at the time of pre-employment for baseline testing, annually, and when you leave the job. This phased approach of testing gives you and your employer the ability to monitor and manage the impact a job has had, if any, on your hearing capabilities.
What to Expect During an Audiometry Exam
This non-invasive exam is simple and painless. In fact, on average, the test is completed in under five minutes. Before getting started with the test, the technician will help you prepare by asking you to remove hats, headbands, earrings, or any other accessories that may impact completion of the exam. In addition, you’ll be asked to turn off your cell phone. The technician will ensure proper headset placement and the audiometer will provide your test instructions through the headset. The instructions are available in over 30 languages. However, as always, should you have any questions before getting started, feel free to ask any member of our team.
The audiometer will test each ear separately to determine the quietest sounds you can hear at different pitches, from low to high. You will be asked to press a response button to let us know that you’ve heard a sound. Each of your answers will be recorded during testing and will be reviewed to determine your overall results. If your results indicate a necessary follow-up, your employer will be notified and will reach out to you.
Are You an Employer Considering a Hearing Conservation Program?
As mentioned, a hearing conservation program is an OSHA mandates that requires companies to take action and institute occupational noise and hearing conservation programs for employees who work in areas where the probable exposure to noise equals or exceeds an 8-hour TWA sound level of 85 dB. However, whether required or not, hearing conservation programs are an important part of protecting the health and well-being of your organization’s team members. These programs can help:
- Prevent employees from experiencing occupational hearing loss
- Preserve and protect your employees' hearing
- Increase your employees' quality of production
- Improve team morale and a general feeling of well-being
- Reduce the incidence of stress-related disease
Our hearing conservation programs allow for the collection of baseline data that is stored and compared to on-going annual audiograms to monitor any changes in your hearing ability. Our services exceed the current American National Standards Institute (ANSI) S3.6 standards, and are compliant with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) regulations.