About 12 percent of the U.S. working population suffer from hearing loss. Unlike the two leading conditions, hypertension and arthritis, hearing loss is typically caused in the workplace, and it is the responsibility to put protection and testing in place for their employees.
The Causes of Hearing Loss
24 percent of the hearing difficulty among U.S. workers is caused by occupational exposures, and it caused by either exposure to loud noises or ototoxic chemicals. These chemicals make the ears more susceptible to hearing loss. 10 million people are exposed to the ototoxic chemicals, and another 22 million are exposed to loud noises each year.
Monitoring for Hearing Loss
According to OSHA, the hearing conservation program requires employers to monitor noise exposure levels in a way that accurately identifies employees exposed to noise at or above 85 decibels (dB) averaged over 8 working hours, or an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA). Employers must monitor all employees whose noise exposure is equivalent to or greater than a noise exposure received in 8 hours where the noise level is constantly 85 dB. The exposure measurement must include all continuous, intermittent, and impulsive noise within an 80 dB to 130 dB range and must be taken during a typical work situation. This requirement is performance-oriented because it allows employers to choose the monitoring method that best suits each individual situation.
Testing for Hearing Loss
Workplace Safety Screenings’ certified medical examiner performs audiogram testing 24/7 at our facility to ensure that OSHA regulations are met, and your workers’ hearing is protected.
Audiometric testing measures an employee’s hearing loss over time. Employers whose employees are in danger of hearing loss because of their workplace environment must provide screening at the time of employment and at regular intervals afterwards. The audiometric testing program follow-up should indicate whether the employer's hearing conservation program is preventing hearing loss.