Noise at work

Employee Hearing Screening

Surveillance audiometry (formerly industrial audiometry) is required to perform hearing screening tests for all employees, according to the Control of Noise at Work Regulations (2005). 

Testing employees hearing levels at regular intervals is not only a legal requirement, but helps to protect employees from chronic hearing conditions (i.e. noise-induced hearing loss), which can have a significant negative impact on an employee’s quality of life. Lack of enforcement of workplace hearing testing can also mean employers are open to legal action should an employee suffer noise-induced hearing loss.

Whats the process? 

  • Our self administered tablet based audiometry follows a standardised automated testing process providing simple, high quality and repeatable hearing screening
  • The system is shipped to you and can be used flexibly within your workforce. 
  • A designated member of your team, who has been trained in the use of the equipment by us, will be responsible on site for the hearing screening. 
  • This minimises staff downtime whilst ensuring quality, repeatable and well documented testing and reducing risk to your employees hearing health. 
  • Our service is simple, it can be offered on a one off basis or to reduce costs even further you can contract us as your surveillance audiometry provider. 
  • We will take the hassle away from you and ensure your hearing screening is conducted promptly at the required interval. 

The automated and self administered surveillance audiometry application, secure cloud based data management and seamless reporting makes or workplace hearing screening service more efficient than ever. 

Why does self administered testing work?

Our certified IEC 60641-1 HearTestTM  Occupational Health tablet-based audiometry solution provides a seamless, simple and cost effective approach to workplace hearing screening. The system is developed by HearX who are a world leader in smart accesible hearing health solutions with their systems conducting over 1 million tests accross 191 countries

By automating the surveillance audiomtery process, using their patented technology, this allows us to provide  high quality hearing screening that is repeatable with minimal human oversight. Every test is independently certified and signed off by a competent person.  

Standards and Regulations

Our workplace hearing screening equipment meets the following standards and regulations: 

  • CE Certified
  • IEC 60641 - 1 Equipment for Pure Tone Audiometry (type 4 audiometer) 
  • ISO 8253 - 1 Pure - Tone Air Conduction Audiometric Test Methods
  • HSE (Health & Safety Executive) Categorisation

Where do my employees get their hearing tested?

We require a suitably quiet space on site to complete occupational hearing testing. This is normally a quiet office away from day to day activity. 

We can test hearing for any number of employees with our HearTestTM  Occupational Health tablet-based audiometry solution with the minimum of disruption to working routine. 

Whats the process of self administered workplace hearing screening?

A quick and easy solution without compromising on quality. Our process is as follows:

  • We will provide an IEC 60645 - 1 certified tablet-based audiometry systen to conduct self-administered pure-tone air conduction surveillance audiometry in accordance with BS EN ISO 8253 - 1. The system will be shipped to your business premises for use under the supervision of a designated member of the employer’s staff, preferably a supervisor or manager responsible for Occupational Health at the company.
  • We will provide training to a designated staff member, via phone / video call, explaining how to use the equipment.
  • You will schedule all employees to undertake a self-administered hearing screening, under the supervision of the trained staff member allowing 20 minutes per test. In a standard 8 hour working day, 22 staff members should be able to be tested.
  • The test will include a pre-disposition to hearing healthcare questionnaire, including personal details, job type, previous exposure and relevant medical history which will be saved in the patients record.
  • A self-administered automated hearing test will be conducted by the employee via the tablet based audiometer. An audiogram will be generated following the successful test. The patients hearing test will be categorised in compliance with the HSE L108 categorisation to ascertain if noise induced hearing loss is present or unilateral hearing loss is present. When provided, the current test will be compared with historical patient tests.
  • A competent person with specialist training in audiometry will review the patient record. The detailed patient record will be stored securely in the cloud.
  • Official technical report & plain-language summary Including anonymised employee results

Our audiologists deliver remote workplace hearing tests for employers of all sizes, enabling them to provide an efficient and friendly service. Our unrivalled service includes free, expert advice for requirements and implementation of employee surveillance audiometry. Simply use the contact form on this page, or call our offices, to chat about your employee hearing testing requirements with our friendly and knowledgeable team of acoustic consultants.

Why use our HearTest system?

Our portable and robust HearTest solution offers mobile testing outside of a booth at a fraction of the cost and ensures easy and time-efficient compliance.

  • Clinically Valid Test - Evidenced based solution, validated in peer-reviewed journals and calibrated to ISO standards.
  • Active Background Noise Monitoring - Real time monitoring of background noise levels during every test which alerts the user if background noise has exceeded the required threshold. No other system provides this!
  • Comprehensive and Efficient Reporting - Reduced need for paperwork and administration with on-site patient signatures and secure online data management. 
  • Mobility - The solution is portable and robust and testing can be conducted anywhere (background noise dependant!)
  • Time Efficient - Using automated testing and smart algorithms, its significantly faster thatn traditional audiometers.
  • Data Management - Your employees data, test and business data is consolidated instantly on a secure online database. 
  • Quality Control - Smart features to ensure on-site quality control and test repeatability. With standard deviation response time, false response rate and background noise adequacy recorded during every test. 

HearTest Publications

HearTest is developed by HearX who are pioneers in accesible hearing health technical. The HearTest Occupational Health system is based on the following publications:

  • Field test of the Rapid Assessment of Hearing Loss survey protocol in Ntcheu district, Malawi Bright T, Mulwafu W, Phiri M, Mwanaisha P, Fan J, Swanepoel D, Kuper H, Mactaggart I, Yip JLY, and Polack S. International Journal of Audiology,2020 Access Article
  • Community health worker‐based hearing screening on a mobile platform: A scalable protocol piloted in Haiti Jayawardena ADL, Nassiri AM, Levy DA, Valeriani V, Kemph AJ, Kahue CN, Segaren N, Labadie RF, Bennett ML, Elisée CA and JL Netterville Laryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology, 2020 Access Article
  • Rationale and feasibility of a combined rapid assessment of avoidable blindness and hearing loss protocol. Bright T, McCormick I, Phiri M, Mulwafu W, Burton M, Polack S, Mactaggart I, Yip J.L.Y., Swanepoel D and Kuper H PloS One, 2020 Access Article
  • Diagnostic accuracy of non‐specialist versus specialist health workers in diagnosing hearing loss and ear disease in Malawi. Bright T, Mulwafu W, Phiri M, Ensink RJH, Smith A, Yip J, Mactaggart I and Polack S. Tropical Medicine & International Health, 2019 Access Article
  • Extended high frequency smartphone audiometry: validity and reliability Bornman M, Swanepoel D, Biagio De Jager L and Eikelboom RH Journal of the American Academy of Audiology; 30:217-226, 2019. Access Article
  • Automated Smartphone Threshold Audiometry: Validity and Time Efficiency. Van Tonder J, Swanepoel D, Mahomed-Asmail F, Myburgh H and Eikelboom R. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, 2017 Access Article
  • Smartphone threshold audiometry in underserved primary health-care contexts. Sandström J, Swanepoel D, Myburgh H and Laurent C. International Journal of Audiology; 55(4): 232-8, 2017. Access Article

What do the Control of Noise at Work Regulations state about Health Surveillance?

9.—(1) If the risk assessment indicates that there is a risk to the health of his employees who are, or are liable to be, exposed to noise, the employer shall ensure that such employees are placed under suitable health surveillance, which shall include testing of their hearing.

(2) The employer shall ensure that a health record in respect of each of his employees who undergoes health surveillance in accordance with paragraph (1) is made and maintained and that the record or a copy thereof is kept available in a suitable form.

(3) The employer shall—

                                           (a) on reasonable notice being given, allow an employee access to his personal health record; and

                                           (b) provide the enforcing authority with copies of such health records as it may require.

(4) Where, as a result of health surveillance, an employee is found to have identifiable hearing damage the employer shall ensure that the employee is examined by a doctor and, if the doctor or any specialist to whom the doctor considers it necessary to refer the employee considers that the damage is likely to be the result of exposure to noise, the employer shall—

                                           (a) ensure that a suitably qualified person informs the employee accordingly;

                                           (b) review the risk assessment;

                                           (c) review any measure taken to comply with regulations 6, 7 and 8, taking into account any advice given by a doctor or occupational health professional, or by the enforcing authority;

                                           (d) consider assigning the employee to alternative work where there is no risk from further exposure to noise, taking into account any advice given by a doctor or occupational health professional; and

                                           (e) ensure continued health surveillance and provide for a review of the health of any other employee who has been similarly exposed.

(5) An employee to whom this regulation applies shall, when required by his employer and at the cost of his employer, present himself during his working hours for such health surveillance procedures as may be required for the purposes of paragraph (1).

Frequently Asked Questions?

How often is hearing screening required? 

The HSE L108 Guidance state that an initial baseline hearing test should be conducted. The schedule of audiometric testing should include annual tests for the first two years of exposure and thereafter a test once every three years. More frequent testing may be required if significant changes in hearing level are detected or the risk of hearing damage has increased. As a quality control measure, it would be advisable to repeat any audiogram which showed a difference from the previous result of more than 10 dB at any frequency.

For the majority of workplaces where employees are regularly exposed to excessive noise and to ensure Noise Induced Hearing loss is detected we advise annual hearing tests to protect both the employee and employer. 

What does the HSE categorisation mean? and How is it worked out? 

HearTestTM  automatically categorises each complete hearing test in accordance with the HSE categorisation scheme. The specific categorisation is dependant on your age and sex and provides an indication of your hearing ability and assists in understanding if Noise Induced Hearing Loss has occured. THe categories are as follows: 

  • Category 1 - Acceptable Hearing
  • Category 2 - Mild Hearing Loss
  • Category 3 - Significant Hearing Loss or New Progressive NIHL
  • Category 4 - Rapid Hearing Loss

Do I require specialist training to use HearTestTM?

No. The equipment has been designed with the end-user in mind and the interface is simple to use. You do not need any audiology or healthcare training to use HearTestTM  and this can be used easily with basic instruction. Guidance is provided to ensure the environment where the testing is conducted is suitable, best practice on applying headphone correctly and how to use the equipment including troubleshooting. The user simply inputs their personal details and answers the questions on hearing, once this is complete, they are presented with a 'Start' button which commences the test and the user simply responds to the tones by hitting the only button on the screen.  

Is it OK to not have someone administering HearTestTM?

HearTestTM  is an automated process and does not required a human to administer it. In essence it is administering itself. This is the same as a traditional audiometer which has an automated setting where the administer presses the "Start" button and the audiometer completes the test in its entirity. The key things that do need checking by the designated person in charge of the testing are  that Headphones are put on correctly. Each patient being shown the equipment must follow the correct process to correctly position the headphones. e.g. ensuring hair is kept clear, glasses or large ear rings are removed etc. 

How do we know the equipment is working correctly? Do we do Verification Checks? 

Prior to equipment being shipped a verification test is conducted by an experienced user with good hearing to ensure the equipment is working correctly. The equipment is also calibrated to ISO standards by an independent calibration laboratory. When the equipment is returned the same verification test is conducted to ensure that the equipment has been correctly operational for the duration of the time on your site. 

How reliable are the test results? Can the test be manipulated? 

Traditional audiometry relies on the audiometric technician administering to ascertain if the patient is manipulating the test procedure. The HearTestTM  system measures and reports standard deviation response time, false response rate and background noise adequacy during every test. The basis of these parameters being acceptable is on research and analysis of over 1 million hearing test conducted through the HearTestTM  system. If the false response rate is elevated the system will automatically repeated at the affected frequency. This information is also documented on the audiogram. 

Do I need otoscopic examinations? 

The HSE L108 Guidance on Audiometric testing states that it advises otoscopic examination should form part of the pre-test examination process.  As follows:

13 It is important that the person conducting the test has a record of the otological and noise exposure history of the person being tested. Also, that they undertake otoscopic examination of the ear immediately before the test to detect any major abnormality or the presence of exudate or wax which might affect the results. The tester should also be familiar with any hearing protection which may be used by workers so they can discuss proper fitting, cleaning and maintenance.

BS8253 - 1:2010 States: "Normally, the audiometric test is preceded by an otoscopic examination carried out by a qualified person."

The HSE outline the importance of otoscopic examination to identify major abnormality or exudate/wax that might affect audiometry results. This service does not include otoscopic examination. If an employees' hearing thresholds do not exceed the referral threshold levels stated by the HSE, this may be taken as reasonable evidence that exudate/wax are not affecting their surveillance audiometry performance; however, all employees who pass surveillance audiometry but still have concerns regarding their ear health should provide appropriate details in there pre-screening questionnaire to facilitate further medical referral, If requried.

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Clients we’ve worked with

  • barnfield
  • bedford
  • barnfield
  • continental
  • essex
  • hobson
  • interserve
  • kfc
  • leicester
  • persimmon
  • puregym
  • snap
  • starbucks
  • tacobell
  • tower hamlets
  • ITV
  • Unilever
  • Sig
  • Leeds University
  • Morrisons
  • Taylor Wimpey
  • City of Stoke On Trent
  • Hambleton District
  • Calvert Trust
  • Aldi
  • Arnold Laver
  • Broadley
  • Engie
  • Gardiner Theo
  • Iggesund
  • Oxford University
  • PepsiCo
  • Richmonshire
  • Savills

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