Hearing Conservation & Audiometric Screening

Audiometric testing monitors an employee's hearing over time.  It also provides an opportunity for employers to educate employees about their hearing and the need to protect it.

The employer must establish and maintain an audiometric testing program. The important elements of the program include baseline audiograms, annual audiograms, training and follow-up procedures.  Employers must make audiometric testing available at no cost to all employees who are exposed to an action level of 85 decibels (dB) or above, measured as an 8-hour time weighted average (TWA).

Baseline Audiogram:

The baseline audiogram is the reference audiogram against which future audiograms are compared.  Employers must provide baseline audiograms within 6 months of an employee's first exposure at or above an 8-hour TWA of 85 dB.  An exception is allowed when the employer uses a mobile test van for audiograms.  In these instances, baseline audiograms must be completed within 1 year after an employee's first exposure to workplace noise at or above a TWA of 85 dB.

Annual Audiograms:

Employers must provide annual audiograms within 1 year of the baseline audiogram.  It is important to test worker's hearing annually to identify deterioration in their hearing ability as early as possible.  This enables employers to initiate protective follow-up measures before hearing loss progresses.  Employers must compare annual audiograms to baseline audiograms to determine whether the audiogram is valid and whether the employee has lost hearing ability or experienced a standard threshold shift (STS).  An STS is an average shift in either ear of 10 dB or more at 2,000, 3,000 and 4,000 hertz.

For maximum protection (of both your employee and your company) and to test specifically for the ability to hear warning signals, an audiogram should be performed:

  • Pre-employment
  • One year afterward for comparison
  • Every two years thereafter
  • Prior to assignment in a noisy area
  • At re-assignment out of a noisy area
  • At the termination of employment

Hearing tests can be performed at both of our Buffalo locations, and also via our mobile services vehicle.  All hearing instruments are carefully calibrated on an annual basis in accordance with specific manufacturer's recommendations.