The Speech & Hearing Center has always been at the forefront of hearing conservation. In 1971, we launched the first Industrial Services division in the Chattanooga Valley in response to the 1970 Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). This meant that even before OSHA established the Hearing Conservation Act in 1984, The Speech & Hearing Center was already offering on-site hearing tests for industries. Today, over 150 companies rely on us to coordinate their hearing conservation programs, and mobile testing is offered to the southeast region, with audiogram reviews provided nationwide.
Client Services offered by The Speech & Hearing Center
We tailor our services to meet each company's individual needs at a competitive price. Services available include:
Noise surveys for OSHA documentation
Noise surveys are a requirement of any industrial hearing conservation program. Surveys conducted by The Speech & Hearing Center identify those areas where noise exceeds the action level of 85 dBa, as defined by OSHA. Our survey reports include:
- average noise levels for each work area tested
- time-weighted average (TWA) for each area
- recommendations for each area monitored to ensure OSHA compliance
Pre-employment hearing testing & On-site hearing testing
Determining the effectiveness of any safety program requires accurate monitoring. The Speech & Hearing Center provides on-site hearing tests to help companies meet their audiometric testing obligations. We then compare the annual test of each employee to his/her baseline hearing test. Inconsistencies may result due to:
- employee may need to be fitted or re-fitted with hearing protection
- misuse of hearing protection
- possible medical condition
- off-the-job noise exposure
Re-testing available for STS's
OSHA regulations, with regard to Standard Threshold Shifts, state that "the employer may obtain a re-test within 30 days and consider the results of the retest as the annual audiogram." Re-tests are offered as an added benefit to those companies being served by The Speech & Hearing Center.
OSHA regulations state that "the audiologist, otolaryngologists, or physician shall review problem audiograms and shall determine whether there is a need for further evaluation." Our Doctor of Audiology reviews industrial tests to check for STSs and makes recommendations and referrals as needed. Companies who conduct their own testing may utilize The Speech & Hearing Center to process their audiograms and deliver reports identical to those we would provide had we completed the testing ourselves.
Training video on hearing protection
Employee training is important to any hearing conservation program. OSHA regulations state that "the training program shall be repeated annually for each employee included in the hearing conservation program." The video training offered by The Speech & Hearing Center meets OSHA requirements and covers all aspects of hearing conservation.
Professional consultation is offered to fully explain OSHA regulations and compliance relating to a company's workplace environment. Recommendation and referrals are offered to increase awareness of potential hearing safety issues and/or future hearing loss that may be avoided by taking preventative steps.
Noise & hearing protection booklet
The Industrial Services Department offers a training booklet Noise and Your Hearing by BLR for companies wanting to offer to their employees added exposure to hearing conservation answering questions as what is noise and its effect on hearing, how much is too much noise, and how to protect your ears from over exposure
The Speech & Hearing Center has a new thirty-foot mobile testing trailer unit, complete six individual testing booths that use Microlab microprocessor audiometers. It takes approximately 8-10 minutes per group, averaging 36 people per hour. We can test over 250 people in an eight hour shift, provided one group closely follows the other.
Testing is performed using microprocessor audiometers by CAOHC certified technicians or certified audiologists. Upon completion of testing, results are processed and returned by mail within two weeks, in most cases.
The Speech & Hearing Center utilizes the Windows version Hear\Trak, proven to be the leader in record keeping, which strictly follows the guidelines set by OSHA regulations (Standards-29 CFR) for occupational noise exposure.
OSHA regulations state, "Audiometer calibration shall be checked acoustically, at least annually." Each booth audiometer goes through a full exhaustive calibration annually and records of results are kept on the testing unit for inspection.
Daily audiometer calibrations are performed by Quest Bio-Acoustic Simulators and an Octave Band Monitoring System test and monitor sound attenuation to meet ANSI standards for sound booths. OSHA regulations state, "Rooms used for audiometric testing shall not have background sound pressure levels exceeding requirements of American National Standard Specification for Sound Level Meters." The Octave Band System monitors booth sound attenuation during the testing process to assure compliance with ANSI Standards.
Standard Number: 1910.95
Standard Title: Occupational Noise Exposure
SubPart Number: G
Subpart Title: Occupational Health and Environmental Control
Applicable Standard: Applicable Standard
State Occupational Safety and Health Plans
The following states have approved state plans:
Tennessee – www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/stateprogs/tennessee.html
Kentucky – www.labor.ky.gov/dows/oshp/Pages/Occupational-Safety-and-Health-Program.aspx
North Carolina - www.nclabor.com/osha/osh.htm
South Carolina - www.scosha.llronline.com/index.asp?file=scovp/main.htm
Statues of Alabama and Georgia strictly follow the guidelines set by OSHA regulations