Our Audiometric Testing Report
The audiometry report we send consists of two documents and will be emailed to you around a week to ten days after the testing.
Document 1: The hearing test report itself
This PDF document has four main sections:
Section 1 - The stats
A statistical analysis of the set of results. This is completely anonymous so may be extracted from the report and circulated within the company as needed. It is how many of the attendees scored which category of audiometry result.
Section 2 - attendees and result category
A list of every attendee in that audiometry session, listed by name and category of result, using the HSE's categorisation scheme.
Section 3 - detail on all Cat 3 or 4 cases
A further paragraph of information relating to any attendee found to have a hearing health issue which may be relevant to their work, including stating clearly what the employer needs to do, or need not do, to follow up on it.
Section 4 - all audiograms
This is then followed by a copy of all audiometry test results for all attendees - the actual audiograms.
Section 1 can be circulated as needed within the company. All other sections should only be seen by the person within the company responsible for arranging and overseeing the audiometry process and should not be circulated.
Section 3 is an area we are particularly proud of as it means the audiometry technician looking at and considering each and every result rather than merely following a machine-like routine, and it is this section which is of most benefit to the employer in clearly stating what need or need not be done.
Section 4 contains all the audiograms - this is all the actual test data for each person. These will be within the main single PDF document, presented alphabetically, and include a graphical result and tabular data for every attendee, the category of their result and any pertinent comments the employer should be aware of.
By default the report does not include the health questionnaires which are normally handed back to the attendee, with separate notes made of any pertinent information the questionnaire contained. This is to minimise the unnecessary retention of data as most of this information is of no further use. If, in advance, the employer has requested the questionnaires as well then these will also be provided within the PDF report after the audiograms - if any client wants this please let us know before the session starts.
Document 2: Recommended Retest Dates
Clients will also receive a separate spreadsheet of all attendees and their recommended date for their next hearing test which can be used by the client for future audiometry scheduling. This can help in predicting future costs and help with annual budget planning.
This is emailed to the client with the report and can then be maintained by the client to account for new starters and leavers. In subsequent audiometry sessions we will update it with the new results to provide an ongoing list of historical tests and re-test due dates.
If you already have an in-house method for managing the audiometry then this will not be needed, but for those without this can be a huge help in managing the screening process, especially as the years progress as the blocks of people start to break up due to differing results.
Notes on audiometric test reports, data access and data handling
Your employees - your data
The law says the employer is responsible for the audiometric screening programme, and they are your employees.
Minimising unnecessary data - the questionnaires
A fundamental part of GDPR is that companies can only hold data on individuals which they absolutely need to hold for provision of a future service. They cannot hold onto it 'just in case' or just because they have had access to it, and this very much applies to the audiometric test health questionnaires - they should not be held 'just in case'. Most information on the questionnaire is of no further use.
Third parties holding your employees' audiometry data
If the data has been collected at the employer's instigation, which it has in the case of workplace audiometry, then the employer has a responsibility to ensure that data is properly safeguarded. That is already an onerous requirement where the employer is storing it themselves, but the employer has no say over where a contracting screening service keeps the data, nor over the people the screening company employ to do the tests, nor over their IT systems used to keep it or transmit it, etc. The employer has in effect lost control of data which they instigated the collection of for their own legal obligations.
What about GDPR and employee consent for data gathering in audiometry?
GDPR doesn't say consent is needed for all data gathering and is explicit in saying consent is not needed when data is being used to comply with another legal requirements, so in this case the hearing test elements of the Noise Regs.
Distribution of hearing testing data to GPs
Another issue to consider is the passing of audiometric test data to third parties such as GPs as even though they are medical professionals, consent is still needed. We avoid this issue by taking the route of instructing attendees identified having undiagnosed hearing problems to go and see their GP, and give them a copy of the audiogram to take with them. This way neither The Noise Chap nor the employer are passing data on to a 3rd party and it is the employee themselves giving it to the GP.