Category Archives: CAOHC

Prioritizing Women’s Hearing Health: The Imperative of Correctly Fitted Hearing Protection

In today’s workplaces, ensuring the safety and well-being of all employees, regardless of gender, is paramount. However, when it comes to hearing protection, the one-size-fits-all approach falls short, particularly for women. Workplace Integra’s Dr. Michele Alexander, a renowned Doctor of Audiology, aptly emphasizes this point, stating, “Unfortunately, the selection of hearing protection is not a ‘what is good for a goose is good for a gander’ type of situation.” In light of this, this essay explores the critical importance of providing correctly fitted hearing protection for women in the workforce, echoing Dr. Alexander’s call to invest in female workers’ hearing healthcare needs.

1. Tailored Protection for Women: Dr. Alexander’s assertion challenges the misconception that hearing protection can be standardized across genders. Women’s smaller ear canals necessitate specialized solutions that cater to their unique anatomical requirements. Without appropriately fitted hearing protection, female employees are at risk of inadequate noise attenuation, exposing them to the dangers of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) and related health complications.

2. Achieving Maximum Protection: The effectiveness of hearing protection hinges on correct usage. Dr. Alexander emphasizes that the “best hearing protector is the one that is worn correctly and consistently.” Ill-fitted protection not only compromises comfort but also undermines its ability to provide optimal noise reduction. For female workers, this raises concerns about their ability to achieve maximum protection and mitigate the risk of NIHL in noisy work environments.

3. Investing in Women’s Hearing Healthcare: Recognizing the importance of tailored hearing protection for women is a proactive step towards prioritizing their health and safety in the workplace. Dr. Alexander urges employers to view their female workforce’s hearing healthcare needs with the same level of importance as their male counterparts. Investing in correctly fitted hearing protection signifies a commitment to inclusivity and equity, ensuring that all employees have access to the necessary resources to protect their auditory health.

4. Promoting Consistency and Compliance: Comfort plays a pivotal role in encouraging consistent use of hearing protection. Dr. Alexander’s insight underscores the importance of providing women with options that prioritize both effectiveness and comfort. When female employees are equipped with hearing protection that fits correctly and feels comfortable, they are more likely to wear it consistently, thereby reducing their risk of NIHL and promoting overall well-being.

5. Fostering a Culture of Safety and Empowerment: Beyond regulatory compliance, investing in correctly fitted hearing protection for women fosters a culture of safety and empowerment in the workplace. By acknowledging and addressing the unique needs of female employees, employers demonstrate a commitment to creating a supportive and inclusive environment where all workers feel valued and respected.

Dr. Michele Alexander’s perspective highlights the urgent need for tailored solutions in hearing protection for women in the workforce. As employers strive to create safer and healthier workplaces, it is imperative to heed her call to invest in female workers’ hearing healthcare needs. By prioritizing correctly fitted hearing protection, employers not only mitigate the risk of NIHL but also demonstrate a commitment to equity, inclusivity, and the well-being of all employees, regardless of gender.

When Do I Need to Start a Hearing Conservation Program?


Hearing Conservation Programs are essential for safeguarding the hearing health of workers exposed to high noise levels in the workplace. These programs aim to prevent noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) and promote overall well-being. According to Brooke Stott, Au.D., CCC-A, CPS/A an Occupational Audiologist at Workplace INTEGRA, “A good rule of thumb for estimating how loud your work environment is to use the 3-foot rule.  If you’re standing 3 feet from an individual, or approximately arm’s length away, and you have to yell to be heard over the noise this indicates noise levels are likely 85 dBA or higher and a noise exposure assessment may be necessary to ensure your employees are protected.”

Let’s break down the key aspects of when and how to initiate a Hearing Conservation Program.

Determining the Need

Noise Exposure Levels

The first step is to assess the noise exposure levels in your workplace. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Standard 29 CFR 1910.95, a Hearing Conservation Program is required when:

  • Employees are exposed to an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) noise level of 85 decibels (dB) or higher.
  • The noise exposure exceeds a peak sound level of 115 dB (measured in any 15-minute period).

Seeking Expertise

When evaluating the necessity of a Hearing Conservation Program, organizations often turn to qualified professionals who specialize in occupational health and safety. Here’s how their involvement can enhance the process:

Noise Exposure Assessment:

  • Audiologists or occupational health consultants can conduct thorough noise exposure assessments.
    • They use advanced equipment, including precision sound level meters and dosimeters, to measure noise levels accurately.
    • These professionals analyze data and provide precise information about exposure risks.

Site-Specific Evaluation:

  • Outside experts perform on-site evaluations tailored to your workplace.
    • They consider factors such as machinery, work processes, and employee tasks.
    • Their expertise ensures a comprehensive understanding of noise sources.

Compliance with Regulations:

  • Regulations regarding noise exposure can be complex.
    • Audiologists stay up-to-date with local, state, and federal guidelines.
    • They help organizations comply with OSHA standards and other relevant regulations.

Customized Solutions:

  • Professionals collaborate with employers to develop customized solutions.
    • These may include engineering controls (such as noise barriers), administrative measures (like job rotation), and personal protective equipment (PPE).
    • Their recommendations align with the specific needs of your workforce.

Audiometric Testing Oversight:

  • Audiologists or licensed hearing conservationists oversee audiometric testing.
    • They ensure accurate testing procedures and interpret results.
    • Regular follow-up assessments are crucial for identifying early signs of hearing loss.


Contracting outside professionals enhances the accuracy and effectiveness of your Hearing Conservation Program. Their expertise ensures compliance, minimizes risks, and promotes a healthier work environment. Remember, protecting your employees’ hearing is an investment in their long-term well-being!

If you are considering whether your employees should participate in a hearing conservation program, we encourage you to connect with Workplace INTEGRA. Our comprehensive suite of Occupational Hearing Conservation Services is designed to support America’s workforce. With our industry-leading hearing data management software and a team of knowledgeable professionals, we are passionate about preventing hearing loss before it occurs. Visit our website at Workplace INTEGRA to learn more.”

How Face Masks Have Impacted Hearing Deficiencies

From E3 Diagnostics, by Adam Dawson

Face masks have become the new normal. While many don’t mind wearing masks, many others find it inconvenient. For people with hearing loss, however, masks can create a significant barrier to effective communication. 

Keep reading to learn how face masks make it more difficult for the deaf and hard of hearing to communicate and how you can help them more effectively communicate with them on. 

Why Face Masks and Hearing Deficiencies Don’t Mix

Many people with hearing loss use facial expressions and lip-reading to understand conversations. That’s why face masks create issues for the deaf and hard of hearing. The mask covers the speaker’s face, hiding cues a person with hearing loss may rely on when speaking with someone. A mask makes it more difficult for the listener to tell if someone is happy, angry, smiling, or frowning. 

Additionally, a cloth face mask reduces a speaker’s volume by about 5 decibels and makes it difficult to hear high-frequency sounds such as “s,” “f,” and “th.” The problems may be exacerbated if a thicker, heavier type of mask is worn. N-95 masks, for example, reduce volume by about 12 decibels

When combining lowered volume with social distancing and clear plastic shields found in many public places, it becomes even harder for individuals with hearing loss to participate in conversations.  

Finally, face masks that loop behind the ears make it difficult to wear hearing aids. The hearing devices can become dislodged, or the mask loops interfere with the microphone’s sound quality. 

Fortunately, there are solutions that people with hearing loss can use to their advantage. 

Face Masks for Hearing-Impaired Patients

Masks with clear plastic panels are available to help hard-of-hearing people read lips and see facial expressions. However, these masks also block high-frequency sounds. The plastic panels essentially reflect sounds back to the speaker instead of toward the conversation partner. Combining a clear face mask with an amplification system that utilizes a lapel microphone is a good solution to help someone with hearing loss. 

Surgical masks and loosely woven cotton masks are ideal for sound. If you wear these style masks, you will still need to take steps to help ensure a deaf or hard-of-hearing person can understand what you’re saying. These might include:  Rest of post:

2021 CAOHC Class Schedule

Here is the 2021 CAOHC Class schedule from Workplace Integra:

Courses are approved and instructors are certified by the Council for Accreditation in Occupational Hearing Conservation (CAOHC). This 20-hour initial certification training is referenced in both OSHA and MSHA noise standards. It is designed to train personnel conducting hearing testing; implementing or supervising hearing conservation programs. Topics include: click for more….

CAOHC Technician Training Schedule

CAOHC Recertification Training Schedule


Certification Extensions & Cancellation of Courses due to COVID-19

The response to the COVID-19 virus has resulted in many questions. CAOHC understands many courses have been cancelled or will be cancelled as a result of government efforts to limit the spread of disease. While considering the well-being of our community, CAOHC will be immediately implementing the following:

All OHC certifications that were current between March 16, 2020 and March 30, 2021 have automatically been extended until March 31, 2021. All other OHC expiration dates will remain the same.

If a longer OHC extension is needed, please fill out an extension form on the CAOHC website by clicking here.

If an OHC needs to cancel attendance at a course, please contact the course director directly.  Course Directors information can be found by clicking here.

Any Course Directors (CDs) or Professional Supervisors (PS’s) that expired between March 16, 2020 and December 30, 2020, has automatically been extended until the end of the year (until December 31, 2020). All other CD/PS expiration dates will remain the same. 

Classes offered by Workplace INTEGRA:  WPI CAOHC SCHEDULE

For any questions, please contact CAOHC. or 414 276 5338

CAOHC Updates Position on COVID-19 Testing

CAOHC logo

The CAOHC Council has generated an updated position statement addressing Resuming Occupational Hearing Conservation Audiometric Examinations during the Coronavirus Disease Pandemic. The CAOHC Council encourages everyone to continue monitoring the situation closely and strictly adhere to Federal, State and local guidelines.

Click here to view the added position statement. Or


CAOHC Certification Training In response to the COVID-19 virus, the CAOHC Administrative office will be immediately implementing the following:

Any OHC certification that expires between March 16th and September 30th will automatically be extended for 6 months from the date of expiration.

All other expiration dates will remain the same. CAOHC understands many courses have been cancelled or will be cancelled as a result of government efforts to limit the spread of disease.

• If a longer extension is needed, please fill out an extension form on the CAOHC website by clicking here.

• If you need to cancel attendance at a course, please contact the course director directly. Course Directors’ information can be found by clicking here.