Damage to hearing can occur from exposure to very loud noise for a short time or prolonged exposure to moderate noise levels and can begin immediately or gradually.
Depending on the intensity of the noise and the duration of exposure, hearing loss can range from a small shift in the threshold at which sounds at different frequencies can be detected, to total deafness.
The Australian Standard AS/NZS 1269.4:2014 requires that a "prescribed workplace" must provide Audiometric Testing for employees within three months of commencing work and then at least every two years thereafter.
A "prescribed workplace" is defined as one where the worker is exposed to a continuous noise of 85db or more in an eight hour working day (equivalent to 8hrs of heavy traffic) or a peak exposure of 140db and wears PPE (personal protective equipment).
If you are an employee or manage a team working in these conditions you need to know about Audiometric Testing.
Audiometric Testing is a painless and non-invasive hearing test that measures a person's ability to hear different sounds, pitches or frequencies.
People who have been involved in the occupational health area for many years, including the experts from Monash University Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health consider audiometric testing to be one of the most productive services in the OHS area, delivered at a fraction of the cost of other, less cost effective, interventions.
Arguments supporting this proposition:
10 common signs that you may have hearing loss
1. You have trouble hearing people talking on the phone
Check the volume on the phone receiver. If it’s at maximum volume, there's a chance you, or someone at home or in the office may have hearing loss.
2. You have trouble following a conversation when people are talking at the same time
Our ability to process multiple incoming and competing signals deteriorates over time, so being a little lost in conversation isn't always a sign of hearing loss. However, if you have a hard time keeping up when two or more people talk at the same time, you may be suffering from hearing loss.
3. The family complains that the TV is too loud
If this isn’t a sign of hearing loss, nothing is. When your kids or significant other complain that the TV is too loud, you probably have a hearing problem.
4. You strain to hear conversations
Feeling completely exhausted after a simple day of conversing with co-workers, friends or family? Having to focus all day to clearly hear conversation is exhausting work and can lead to additional complaints such as headaches, fatigue and exhaustion.
5. You have trouble hearing in noisy environments
You’re with some friends at the new wine bar in town. It’s noisy, and all that background noise makes it difficult to hear the guys at your table. People with hearing loss often have problems masking out background noise.
6. You say ‘What?’ more than a couple of times a day
If “what?” is the most commonly used word in your vocabulary, you aren’t getting the sound signals you need to process sound correctly, resulting in hearing loss.
7. People don’t speak clearly
If it sounds like you’ve got cotton in your ears, and you aren’t picking up the full range of sound – from high notes to low – making noise sound like mumbling to you, chances are you're suffering from hearing loss.
8. Missing out on everyday sounds
You might not even be aware of one of the biggest hearing loss red flags: Missing out on everyday sounds. When was the last time you heard the birds tweeting outside your window? Do you always sleep through your alarm or miss the ding of a text on your cell phone?
9. You have trouble hearing children and women
Hearing loss within a specific frequency is pretty common and with age, you’re more likely to experience hearing loss within the higher frequencies. Since women and children speak at higher pitches or frequencies, it’s often more difficult to hear what your daughter or wife is saying to you than when your best friend with a big, booming, deep voice speaks to you.
10. Ringing in your ears
Tinnitus, or a ringing sound in your ears, particularly after exposure to very loud noises, can be a warning sign of hearing loss. If the ringing doesn't go away, consider getting a hearing test.
JTA AUDIOMETRIC TESTING At JTA we provide Mobile Onsite Audiometric Testing at a time to suit you and your workforce.
If you recognise that your workplace would benefit from Audiometric Testing, chances are you will also need an Occupational Noise Assessment. OHS legislation in every Australian State requires all workplaces to conduct an Occupational Noise Assessment at least every 5 years.