Despite its importance, there are many myths and misconceptions surrounding audiometry testing that can lead to confusion and even non-compliance. In this blog post, we debunk five common myths about audiometry testing and provide the facts you need to know.
Myth 1: Audiometry testing is only necessary for employees who work in loud environments.
It’s important to note that even if an employee doesn’t work in an industry traditionally associated with high noise levels, they may still be at risk of developing hearing loss if they are exposed to noise levels exceeding 85 decibels (dB) on a regular basis. This includes employees in sectors such as hospitality, retail, and healthcare.
For example, employees who work in bars, nightclubs, or music venues may be exposed to levels exceeding 85 dB on a regular basis, especially during peak hours. Similarly, retail workers who operate loud machinery, such as power tools or forklifts, may also be at risk.
It’s crucial that employers conduct regular audiometry testing for all employees who may be exposed to loud noise levels in order to prevent hearing loss and ensure the safety and well-being of their workforce.
Myth 2: Audiometry testing is time-consuming and expensive.
Audiometry testing usually takes only a few minutes to complete. The cost of the procedure is relatively low compared to the cost of treating hearing loss. Early detection of hearing loss can prevent further damage and reduce the risk of workplace accidents. Moreover, it is also cost-effective for employers to conduct audiometry testing as part of their health and safety program, as it can help to reduce the number of workers’ compensation claims related to hearing loss. By investing in audiometry testing, employers can show their commitment to their employees’ health and well-being, as well as comply with health and safety regulations.
Myth 3: Audiometry testing is only necessary for workers with existing hearing loss.
Audiometry testing is a proactive measure that allows employers to detect hearing loss in its early stages. This is important because hearing loss can be a gradual process, and workers may not notice the signs until the condition has progressed significantly. By conducting regular audiometry testing for all workers exposed to noise levels above 85 decibels, employers can detect any changes in hearing at an early stage and take appropriate action. Regular testing can also help to identify workers who may be at increased risk of hearing loss due to other factors such as age or pre-existing medical conditions. By identifying these workers, employers can take steps to reduce their risk of hearing loss, such as adjusting noise exposure levels or providing hearing protection.
Myth 4: Audiometry testing is only required once.
Regular audiometry testing is crucial to ensuring the continued hearing health of employees who work in noisy environments. As per regulations, employees who are exposed to noise levels exceeding 85 dB should be tested at least annually. However, if an employee has already experienced hearing loss or has other risk factors, more frequent testing may be necessary. It is also important to note that changes in the work environment or job duties may also warrant additional testing. In such cases, it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that employees are tested at the appropriate intervals to safeguard their hearing health.
Myth 5: Audiometry testing is painful and uncomfortable.
Audiometry testing is a non-invasive and painless procedure that involves wearing headphones and listening to a series of beeps or tones at different frequencies and volumes.
During the test, the employee is usually asked to sit quietly and focus on the sounds being played. The technician will then ask the employee to indicate each time they hear a sound by raising their hand or pressing a button. The test is conducted in a soundproof booth or room to eliminate any external noise or interference that could affect the accuracy of the results.
While the duration of the test can vary depending on the complexity of the test and the individual being tested, it typically lasts between 10-15 minutes. Since the procedure is non-invasive and not uncomfortable, there’s no need to take time off work or restrict activity following the test.
Audiometry testing is a critical component of a comprehensive occupational health and safety programme. By debunking these common myths, we hope to encourage employers to take the necessary steps to protect their employees’ hearing health. If you have any questions about audiometry testing or would like to schedule an appointment, please click here to contact Healthscreen today.