From 1 July 2024, all prescribed workplaces where employees wear personal protective hearing equipment to minimise the risk of occupational-noise induced hearing loss, must provide their employees with (baseline) occupational noise testing:

  • Within 3 months of a worker initiating employment
  • At least every 2 years thereafter(or more frequently if required) for the duration of employment

Occupational noise management tests differ from screening audiometry tests most workplaces conduct prior to hiring a candidate.

What is a prescribed workplace?

In NSW, QLD and WA a prescribed workplace is one where workers experience or are likely to experience a representative daily noise dose of ≥85 dB(A) in an eight-hour day OR where workers are exposed to a noise peak ≥140 dB(lin) at any given time

Screening Audiometry vs Occupational Noise Management Testing?

From 01 July 2024, Sonic HealthPlus will only offer audiometry tests for two major purposes.

Check out our article explaning the changes to WA Audiometry Legislation that will remove WorkCover WA LBAs after June 2024 or download our free ‘Audiometry Assessments – Compared poster’ below for a quick and easy comparison summary.

Screening Audiometry

Screening Audiometry, also known as Pure Tone Audiometry, is our most basic hearing test and is used only to determine if a candidate's hearing is sufficient to perform a particular role safely and/or to judge if they meet a particular safety standard e.g. rail industry standards.

The are no legislative requirements for this testing to be done. It is up to the workplace to decide if this is something they require. Every Sonic HealthPlus location provides this service.

What to expect

During this test, a medical screener examines the candidate's ears. The candidate is then seated in an audiometry booth and their hearing is tested across multiple frequencies ranging from 500–8000 Hz. There are no repeat frequencies and each ear is tested separately. The audiometric test is then signed off by the examining doctor.

Occupational Noise Management

Occupational Noise Management testing is currently a legislative requirement for NSW and QLD prescribed workplaces (WA workplaces will also require this test from 1 July 2024).

Regulation 58 of the Work Health and Safety (Mines) Regulations 2022 requires all employers to provide audiometric testing for workers who are frequently exposed to noise above the exposure standard and require personal protective equipment to minimise risk of occupational noise induced hearing loss.

There are two different types of Occupational Noise Management tests:

  • Reference test: initial audiometry screening that workers undergo at the start of their employment or within 3 months of commencing. Workers require 16 hours of quiet time prior to assessment
  • Monitioring test: repeated at least every two years thereafter to monitor for hearing loss and help mitigate hazardous noise in the workplace. Undergoing 16 hours of quiet time is not mandatory.

Only locations with trained or compotent audiometry operators can coduct these tests. Please contact your Client Partner to further discuss testing options. 

What to expect

An audiometry operator completes a noise exposure history questionnaire and conducts a physical ear examination. The worker is then seated in an audiometry booth and their hearing is tested in both ears separately across multiple frequencies ranging from 500–8000Hz. The headphones are removed and replaced before re-testing at 3000, 4000 and 6000Hz. The audiometry operator calculates the mean and averages in each ear and the test is signed off by an occupational physician.

WorkCover WA Legislative Baseline Audio (LBA) - only available until 30 June 2024

A WorkCover WA LBA is a mandatory test for all workers employed by a WA employer, and is typically used to determine potential liability under workers compensation. From 1 July 2024, this legislation will no longer be in place. 

Currently, a WorkCover WA LBA must be performed by a trained WorkCover WA Audiometric Officer. The test is assessed against the Waugh and McCrae Criteria and results are submitted to WorkCover WA. If required, WorkCover may arrange further audiologist or Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) referrals for a compensation assessment.

What to expect

During this test, an audiometry officer conducts a physical ear examination. The worker is then seated in an audiometry booth and hearing is tested in both ears separately across multiple frequencies ranging from 500–8000Hz. The frequencies are tested in a random order and there are no repeat measurements taken.

According to current legislation, only locations with trained audiometric officers can perform this test. Please contact your Client Partner to discuss upcoming legislative changes.

Downloads
Audiometry Assessments Compared Fact Sheet 2024
References

Government of Western Australia (2021) Noise induced hearing loss

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