Identifying Workers at Risk: Minimizing Recordables

Traditionally, the OSHA STS and possible Recordable has been the focus of occupational hearing testing programs. However, this approach does not address the need to prevent future changes in hearing.

In order to help minimize Recordable Standard Threshold Shifts (STS), HearTrak has introduced a graphical tool that can be used to easily identify workers with problematic hearing trends. A sample graph is shown below:


This graph can be displayed any time from the "Hearing Information for..." window and can be automatically displayed when a test is read from the audiometer. It is the most important information available in HearTrak.

The graph shows the average hearing level at 2, 3, and 4K for the worker over all his/her tests ( the black line above), and the OSHA age correction trend (the orange line). 2, 3, and 4K are the frequencies used to identify a Standard Threshold Shift, and the dark black horizontal line represents a hearing level of 25 dB, the threshold for possible recordability. The orange OSHA age adjustment line is placed in proximity of the worker's hearing trend to make comparisons easy.

A worker is at risk if the black line is declining at a faster rate than the orange line, as shown in the example for the left ear. Even if the worker has recently experiences a STS, he/she is still at risk. Aggressive action should be taken with this employee to ensure protection is worn properly and that the effects of noise are understood. Testing every six months may also be in ordered to more closely track progress.

A worker whose black does not decline at all, or does not decline at a rate faster than the orange line, is not at risk of a STS or Recordable, as shown in the example for the right ear.

Spending a few seconds with these graphs and identifying the employees at risk can help significantly to reduce the potential for recordable hearing loss.