The Importance of Occupational Hearing Assessments 

Occupational hearing assessments are important for employees because they can help to identify and prevent noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).

NIHL is a permanent hearing loss that is caused by exposure to loud noise over time. It is one of the most common occupational diseases in the world, and it can have a massive impact on workers’ quality of life. 

How occupational hearing assessments work 

Occupational hearing assessments are usually conducted by a qualified audiologist. The audiologist will ask the employee about their noise exposure history and then perform a series of tests to measure their hearing. The most common test is a pure tone audiogram, which measures the employee’s hearing thresholds at different frequencies. 

Benefits of occupational hearing assessments 

  • Identify early signs of NIHL: Occupational hearing assessments can help to identify early signs of NIHL before the employee experiences permanent hearing loss. This allows the employer to take steps to protect the employee’s hearing, such as providing them with hearing protection or moving them to a quieter work area. 
  • Prevent NIHL: Occupational hearing assessments can help to prevent NIHL by raising awareness of the risks of noise exposure and by encouraging employees to wear hearing protection. 
  • Fulfil legal requirements: In many countries, employers are legally required to provide hearing assessments to employees who are exposed to noise levels above a certain threshold. 

How often occupational hearing assessments should be conducted 

The frequency of occupational hearing assessments depends on the employee’s noise exposure level. Employees who are exposed to high levels of noise should be tested more often than employees who are exposed to lower levels of noise. 

Guidelines for the frequency of occupational hearing assessments 

  • Employees who are exposed to noise levels above 85 decibels (dB) should be tested annually. 
  • Employees who are exposed to noise levels above 90 dB should be tested semi-annually. 
  • Employees who are exposed to noise levels above 95 dB should be tested quarterly. 

If an employee’s hearing assessment shows signs of NIHL, the employer should take steps to protect the employee’s hearing. This may involve providing the employee with hearing protection, moving them to a quieter work area, or implementing other engineering controls to reduce noise exposure. 

The employer should also monitor the employee’s hearing regularly to ensure that their NIHL is not progressing. 

Additional tips for employers  

  • Develop a written hearing conservation program that outlines the company’s policies and procedures for hearing assessments. 
  • Provide training to all employees on the risks of noise exposure and the importance of hearing protection. 
  • Conduct occupational hearing assessments at regular intervals, as required by law. 
  • Provide employees with appropriate hearing protection, such as earplugs or earmuffs. 
  • Monitor the effectiveness of the hearing conservation program and adjust as needed. 

By providing hearing assessments for their employees and following the tips above, employers can help protect their workers’ hearing and save them money in the long run.  

The iProtectU health and safety software provides: 

  • An inspection and Audit App which allows for safety inspection of the workplace and associated report 
  • eLearning on a wide range of EHS topics, many of which cover noise exposure  
  • Scheduling functionality for managers to send eLearning, risk assessments and documents out to all staff via the software with tracks completion and compliance 
  • Risk assessment templates covering noise exposure at work 
  • Management system to document control the policy on noise exposure at work 
  • Method Statement module for the creation of working instructions 
  • Legal register that provides legislation guidance on hearing conservation 
  • Incident investigation module that tracks incidents involving noise exposure, both with an app and via desktop 
  • Hazard observation app where staff can report and record any concerns regarding noise levels to the organisation 
  • Asset management App ensuring assets are recorded in the software 



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