Implementing a Hearing
Conservation Program

Implementing a Hearing Conservation Program

So how do we tackle the problem? Installing an earplug dispenser is no guarantee of compliance and can easily lead to hearing damage for your workers and to OSHA fines and a black eye for your company. A better solution is a good hearing conservation program.

All the components of a hearing conservation program are important but perhaps none more so than worker training & motivation. The success of the employer’s efforts to prevent occupational hearing loss is directly tied to the workers’: 1) Knowledge about the hazards of excessive noise exposure, 2) Attitudes about the value of hearing and, 3) Behaviors that lead to positive health outcomes.
– Ted Madison, M.A., CCC-A. Technical Service Specialist 3M Personal Safety Division


Occupational noise exposure is regulated by OSHA.  


Step one of your hearing conservation program is to reduce noise exposures in your facility wherever possible. An expert Noise Assessment may be needed to help you identify areas to improve. Once you’ve done what you can, PPE can fill in the safety gap wherever noise exposures exceed the PEL.

OSHA has established an Action Level of 85 dBA as an 8-hour TWA.  Whenever noise exposures meet or exceed the Action Level, a Hearing Conservation Program must be implemented.

As with any form of PPE, your workers won’t wear hearing protectors (HP) consistently unless they’re comfortable. Since one size does not fit all, be sure to provide a reasonable variety of HP styles and models that workers can choose from to keep them comfortable and engaged.  One solution is to implement a system like E-A-Rfit™. The E-A-Rfit™ Dual-Ear Validation System makes it easy to measure every employee's unique level of protection in hearing protection fit testing and takes the guesswork out of managing compliance in your hearing conservation program.

Magid and 3M have partnered to provide these tips on what to include in a hearing conservation program.

  Monitor Your Facility | Assess noise whenever significant changes are made to equipment or to your facility that may affect workers’ noise exposures
  Test Your Workers | Perform audiometric testing annually at no cost to workers whose noise exposure exceeds the Action Level
  Provide PPE | Provide a suitable variety of hearing protectors to your workers
  Educate Workers | Start a worker training program, including training on the proper use & care of hearing protectors, the effects of noise on hearing, the purpose of hearing protectors and audiometric testing, and instructions on selection, fitting, use and care of the various types of hearing protectors.
  Provide Handouts | Give copies of the OSHA standard to each worker and post a copy in the workplace.
  Keep Records | Keep audiometric test records for every worker for at least as long as they’re employed at your facility. Keep noise exposure records for at least two years


Learn more about how award-winning companies in the US have benefited from implementing comprehensive hearing loss prevention programs at the Safe-In-Sound Award website.

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