Depending on your local health and safety regulatory jurisdiction, audiometric testing will be required once decibels reach a specific action level.  Audiometric testing is part of an organizations overall hearing conservation program that is completed annually, at a minimum.

What is an audiometric test? It is a test to determine a workers’ hearing levels with the help of an audiometer.  Simply put, it is a test to determine how well you can hear, or not hear?  The test will validate if a workers’ hearing is being compromised or not.

Audiometric Testing

Audiometric testing identifies…

–  Progressive noise-induced hearing losses before they become an impairment

–  Temporary losses before they become permanent, providing time for remedial steps

The audiogram is a graphical display of the hearing test. The audiogram (a graph or table of an audiometric test results) will be available to the worker and by the employer.

The two main components that are graphed are frequency and intensity. These results are displayed for each ear. When you had your hearing tested, the audiologist was determining the softest sound you could hear at each specific frequency.  Without regular audiometric testing you may not know your hearing is being compromised until it is too late!

Below are the 4 steps needed to ensure that noise, as an occupational hazard, is monitored and operational controls are in place to minimize or eliminate such noise.

  1. Measure your workplace sound levels to determine who needs to be tested.
  2. Review engineering, administrative and personal protective measures to limit worker noise exposure.
  3. Schedule mobile testing, and provide training for employees affected by noise.
  4. Understand local jurisdictional and other regulatory bodies requirements for noise hazards and maintain compliance.


The examiner will ask you questions as part of the evaluation…

–  Ear, nose, & throat problems such as colds, infections, and congestion?

–  Noisy hobbies or activities?

–  Time since exposure to loud noise?

The examiner may also visually check your outer ear canal with an otoscope for…

–   Ear infections

–   Excessive earwax

–   Obstructions in the ear canal


  • You will sit in a quiet booth and be equipped with a headset and a signal switch
  • You will hear tones of varying level and frequency
  • You will be instructed to depress the signal switch to indicate a tone was heard
  • Be honest; don’t try to anticipate or intentionally miss a tone, or the test will be invalid


Your audiogram will be used to indicate hearing change.

–    A Temporary Threshold Shift (TTS)

  • A temporary reduction in hearing due to fatigue of the ear caused by noise exposure
  • Temporary hearing loss – indicates the potential for permanent loss

–    A Standard Threshold Shift (STS)

  • A change in hearing sensitivity for the worse relative to the baseline audiogram
  • An average change of 10 dB or more at 2, 3, and 4 kHz in either ear

The benefits of participating in an audiometric test include preventing adverse effects such as tinnitus – ringing in the ears; temporary hearing loss or permanent hearing loss.   Noise is an occupational hazard that can be identified, controlled and measured.  Audiometric testing is a validation of how effective an employer’s hearing conservation program is, or is not.