Identify and recognize noise

Audiometric testing helps prevent hearing loss due to noise and other environmental factors in all sectors. Noise and unwanted sound as one of the biggest occupational health problems facing employees in the workplace. The Hearing Conservation Standard, 29 CFR 1910.95, was created to help protect workers/employees against the effects of noise and unwanted sound exposure.

While noise is considered to be a by-product of industrial activities, employees in certain types of jobs are at risk for exposure to high levels of noise, which can result in incidents of noise-induced hearing loss.

Intensity and duration

The extent of damage depends primarily on the intensity of the noise and the duration of the exposure. Noise-induced hearing loss can be temporary or permanent:

  • Temporary hearing Threshold Shifts (TTS): Results from short-term exposures to noise and normal hearing returns after a period of rest
  • Permanent Threshold Shifts (PTS): Prolonged exposure to high noise levels over a period of time generally results in permanent damage to hearing

What noises are considered hazardous?

Work environments involved with activities that expose employees to noise must comply with requirements set forth in The Hearing Conservation Standard. Work environments included, but not limited to are:

  • Occupational noise exposures: Welding, drilling, heavy equipment operators, construction, boilers, generators and aviation
  • Non-occupational noise exposures: Firearms, motorcycles, music, lawn mowers and power tools

This standard mandates noise monitoring and the development of a hearing conservation program if occupational noise levels exceed specified limits. Hearing and audio testing can help with the following:

  • Provide audiometric testing
  • Assist in the development of hearing conservation programs
  • Provide assistance in procuring hearing protection devices
  • Provide training in the proper use, fitting and maintenance of hearing protection devices