Hearing tests, or more technically known as audiometric testing are a legal requirement for employees that are exposed to noise levels above 85dBa (Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005). Other employees may be exposed to substances that are ototoxic - i.e. have an adverse effect on the person's hearing ability. Common ototoxics include organic solvents, diesel, fuel oils, certain metals e.g. lead; and certain medicines e.g. specific antibiotics and quinine. Where a worker is exposed to ototoxic chemicals, the chemicals can work in a synergy with loud noise to increase the effects of hearing loss.

What's involved?

Audiometry can be carried out at your own premises, provided that there is a quiet room available, away from noisy production areas, away from heavy passing vehicles and telephone noise, Background noise levels should be kept to an absolute minimum possible for accurate hearing tests to be carried out. Obviously, a table, two chairs, a power point, audiometer and employees are all required.

Each audiometry takes between 15 and 20 minutes. A maximum of 23 audiometries can be carried out in one day. If other forms of health surveillance are additionally required for each employee, this number will fall.

A questionnaire is provided by us prior to attendance on site and the employee is given this preferably the day before they attend. They complete the questionnaire and bring it with them to their appointment. The employee will have an otoscopic ear examination, to check the ear canal for abnormalities and then the hearing test will be carried out using a state of the art laptop based audiometer and a noise excluding headset.

Next, the employee will have their results explained to them and a copy given to them, if they want one. If referral is required, they will be given a copy of their results to take to their own General Practitioner. Verbal advice about fitting hearing protection is given to each employee during their appointment.

The final stage involves collating all the results by job title or department and supplying the company with anonymous results, as per the criteria set in the Control of Noise Regulations 2005.

All Safe OH & S can offer site based statutory health surveillance including:

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