The Role of Audiometry in a Hearing Conservation Programme
A successful and effective hearing conservation programme combines 7 key elements – exposure monitoring, the use of hearing protection devices, workers’ training, implementation of noise controls, recordkeeping, programme evaluations, and audiometric testing. These elements should be seamlessly intertwined to ensure a systematic reduction in noise exposure and prevention of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
Unfortunately, many hearing conservation programmes focus only on exposure monitoring and hearing protection elements, neglecting the remaining key aspects. This may result in excessive reliance on hearing protection devices that are prone to incorrect use. Poorly designed hearing conservation programmes also tend to have a disconnect between the occupational health department (or service provider) and the programme administrator. The audiometric testing results are not communicated back to the occupational hygienist and risk owner, so a deterioration in the worker’s hearing does not trigger the risk assessment review. Such hearing conservation programmes are non-compliant and put exposed employees at unacceptable risk.
This webinar will discuss a model hearing conservation programme that integrates all key elements, effectively preventing NIHL. The focus will be on audiometric testing and its essential role in a programme. Audiometry is used to detect early signs of hearing loss to alert the risk owner of unacceptable exposure. Audiometry is the ultimate confirmation that your hearing conservation programme is effective and working as intended.
At the end of this webinar, participants will be able to:
- Outline an effective hearing conservation programme for any workplace
- Appreciate the role each key element plays in a hearing conservation programme
- Describe common pitfalls in designing a programme
- Interpret the causes resulting in the audiogram unique to NIHL
- Describe the general physiological damage that occurs with NIHL
- Assess some principles of noise measurement & ear protection
Professor Ted Venema
Ted is an audiologist with a very rich career in academia and clinical practice. Professor Venema earned a BA in Philosophy at Calvin College, a MA in Audiology from Western Washing University, and a Ph.D. in Audiology at the University of Oklahoma. He was a clinical Audiologist at the Canadian Hearing Society in Toronto early on in his career and, more recently, at NexGen Hearing in Victoria BC. Between those years, he was with Unitron, a hearing aid manufacturer, where he conducted field trials on new hearing aid products and gave many presentations, domestically and abroad. Ted has taught in the hearing aid practitioner programs at four different colleges, and he is the author of a textbook, Compression for Clinicians, which has now been rewritten and available as a 3rd edition. Currently, he is working at the Douglas College in BC Canada, teaching the Hearing Instrument Practitioner Program.
Jans is an Occupational Hygienist with a strong background in the asbestos abatement and oil & gas industry. He holds a BSc (Hons) in Occupational Health, Safety and the Environment from the University of Greenwich and is in his final year of an MSc in Occupational Hygiene at the University of Manchester. Jans is a Licentiate Member of the BOHS and a holder of the Certificate of Operational Competence in Occupational Hygiene. Currently, Jans is working as an in-house occupational hygienist for an agrochemical manufacturing company Syngenta in Huddersfield, England. He is responsible for managing a complex hearing conservation programme across the active ingredients site employing 500 workers.