Q: What is changing?

WA Audiometry legislation is changing to better align the state with national audiometry standards and processes. 

From 1 July 2024, WorkCover WA will no longer require Legislative Baseline Audiometry (LBA) hearing tests or the use of Approved Audiometric Officers.

Q: What are the new exposure standards?

To prevent occupational noise induced hearing loss, all employers must provide hearing tests for their workers if they frequently require hearing protection against noise that exceeds the exposure standards. 

The updated exposure standards for WA are:

  • Eight hour equivalent continuous A-weighted sound pressure above 85 dB(A)
  • C-weighted peak sound pressure above 140 dB(C)

Q: How will Sonic HealthPlus services change?

WorkCover WA LBA tests will continue to be conducted at Sonic HealthPlus clinics until Sunday, 30 June 2024

From Monday, 1 July 2024, our staff will no longer be able to access the WorkCover WA Portal and all candidates/clients that currently utilise this service will be converted to Occupational Noise Management Audiometry (AUDONM).

Q: Will there be any changes to pricing?

Yes. Occupational Noise Audiometry is more costly per test; however, is required less frequently (see next question). 

Please contact your Client Partner to discuss pricing changes.

Q: What are the key differences between a LBA and Occupational Noise Audiometry?

  • Occupational Noise Audiometry is compliant with WHS Act 2020 (Regulation 58) and meets AS/NZS 1269.4.2014
  • Frequency of testing (every 2 years instead of annually)
  • Can be conducted by a suitably trained Sonic HealthPlus staff member (instead of an Approved Audiometric Officer). 

Q: What is the new frequency of testing?

Occupational Noise Management Audiometry must be performed:

  • Within 3 months of an employee commencing work, and
  • At least every 2 years thereafter.

Q: How can employers prepare for this change?

Employers are responsbile for organising and paying for their employees' hearing tests. 

  • Contact WorkSafe WA (DMIRS – Department of Energy, Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety) and WorkCover WA to request previous LBA results and discuss any additional changes required.
  • Discuss hearing test changes with employees and how this legislation will impact the workplace.
  • Identify and assess noise sources in the workplace according to the updated exposure standards.
  • Apply the appropriate risk controls to eliminate or minimise any identified risks.

Q: What does Sonic HealthPlus require from employers?

If your employees have had previous WorkCover WA LBA tests, you need to ensure that the most recent hearing test results are sent to Sonic HealthPlus prior to any future appointments. 

We may require this test as a reference for ongoing audiometry monitoring.

The most recent WorkCover WA hearing test can also be requested by the employee.

Q: What is the testing requirement if the last LBA was conducted within 2 years?

If the most recent WorkCover WA LBA test was conducted within the last 2 years, the next audiometry test should be conducted within 2 years of the LBA. 

The last LBA can be used as a reference test for Occupational Noise Monitoring and employees are NOT REQUIRED to have 16 hours of quiet time before the test. 

It is the employer's responsibilty to request the LBA test results from WorkCover WA and provide them to Sonic HealthPlus prior to the appointment. 

Q: What is the testing requirement if the last LBA was conducted more than 2 years ago?

If the most recent WorkCover WA LBA test was conducted more than 2 years ago, the next audiometry test should be conducted as soon as possible.

Employees ARE REQUIRED to have 16 hours of quiet time before the test and must provide the previous LBA test result to Sonic HealthPlus prior to the appointment.

Q: What can be expected during an Occupational Noise Audiometry?

  • The hearing test is conducted in a sound-proof booth away from loud noises.
  • Both ears are examined for any blockages that could affect the test.
  • A questionnaire about past exposure to noise at and outside of work is completed.
  • A series of sounds are played for the candidate/employee via headphones.
  • Headphones are removed for a short period and refitted for a second, shorter hearing test.

Q: What happens after the test is completed?

Hearing test results will be sent to an Occupational Physician for sign-off. The reviewing doctor may require further testing or may refer the candidate/employee to a specialist.

A copy of the hearing test report will be provided to the employer and the candidate/employee. 

More from this category