How Hearing Conservation Programs Protect Workers
Author: Joel Blanchard, MD
Every worker must undergo an audiogram once they’re first exposed to a dangerous noise level. This baseline audiogram must be performed when they have been away from any noise exposure for 14 hours. This ensures that the correct baseline hearing level is documented.
The worker must then have a yearly audiogram to compare with their baseline audiogram. A physician or audiologist must review their results and determine whether or not their hearing is being well protected. A decrease in hearing may indicate that the hearing protection provided at work is not adequate or may need to be re-fitted. The worker may also need further education to make sure he is wearing hearing protectors correctly, both at work and at home. Hearing loss from noise exposure is completely preventable, but permanent once it occurs.