Tag Archives: hearing protection

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.”

Workplace INTEGRA Mobile Units on the road!

WPI Mobile Unit 15 on the road in KY- Jan 2016
WPI Mobile Unit 15 on the road in KY-


Pictured is one of Workplace Integra’s Mobile Units in KY, January 2016.  The Van Technician looks at a slight delay caused by Winter Storm Jonas.    He cleaned off the van and arrived on-time at the clients site, ready to test!

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Protecting Our Protectors


The ASHA Leader, June 2015, Vol. 20, 22-24. doi:10.1044/leader.LML.20062015.22
An audiologist is on a mission to create the ideal hearing protection for firefighters—and to convince them to use it.

Shelley D. Hutchins

Name: Kathleen A. Romero, AuD, CCC-A

Title: Owner, Audiology Associates

Hometown: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Contact: kromero@romerohearing.com

Sirens scream as the truck roars down the road. Inside a burning building, a woman’s cries are barely audible in the thundering fire.

All of these sounds are common in the lives of firefighters. They have to discern those muffled cries and other subtler sounds like creaks from the shifting building or a fire’s change in intensity, while also subjecting their ears to blaring sirens and other loud and potentially damaging sounds.

That’s why it’s so important to protect their ability to hear, says audiologist Kathleen Romero, who’s made this issue a focus of her work in her Albuquerque-based private audiology practice. She launched her office a few years ago in the usual way—drumming up patients through word-of-mouth. Her surprising specialty developed through one of those word-of-mouth patients.

Even young members of this profession, which relies so heavily on deciphering different noises, experience abnormally high hearing loss.

Her then-receptionist, now partner, is married to a firefighter who referred several of his buddies. Romero quickly learned that even young members of this profession, which relies so heavily on deciphering different noises, experience abnormally high rates of hearing loss.

“I immediately wondered why they weren’t wearing their hearing protection,” Romero says. “They all receive disposable foam ear plugs, which work if they’re actually used, and used correctly, but patients kept telling me they didn’t wear them.”

See full article here.