Audiometry (Hearing Testing) Screening
Like kindly ear obsessives troubling the good folks working up and down the length of the country, The Noise Chap's audiometry services help companies comply with the health screening requirements of the Noise Regs. Although I must admit that even after doing these for more than 20 years now, I still have no idea whether to call it audiometry, hearing testing, or audiometric testing!
There is more information on audiometry than any sane and reasonable person could ever want to read in the Health Stuff advice section of this site and it contains such gems as advice on impacts of GDPR on audiometry, what to look out for when buying-in audiometry services, or what to do with agency staff, etc.. This section meanwhile outlines the audiometry services on offer from the lovely souls here at The Noise Chap, including detail on the audiometric testing report you will receive from us and who will conduct the audiometric tests.
The on-site audiometry service and subsequent report you will receive takes the 2018 GDPR into account, is detailed and provides everything you need for compliance with the screening requirements of the Noise Regs while also balancing the needs of GDPR. The operating policy is that we are testing for you and you receive all the data - our clients receive all results and audiograms.
The workplace audiometry quoting and arrangement process
The hearing tests provided by The Noise Chap are undertaken on the basis of working on behalf of you, the client. This means you are buying-in specialist contract personnel to provide you with a set number of hearing tests, along with result categorisation and recommendations for attendees with potential issues.
The is worded very specifically as a basic principle of how we work is that you are engaging someone to provide you with a specific job, namely to gather relevant information for you as the client and to provide you with expert recommendations. Think of it as like hiring a piece of specialised equipment to do a job, except when hiring our equipment you also get a nice(ish) chap to operate it for you as well. This is an important principle as we strongly believe the results obtained are yours, not ours to use as secret stuff to coerce clients to come back again.
Audiometry pricing is based on how many people there are to test and what those working patterns are so I can't give you a simple 'it costs £x' here, but I promise you won't have to sell a kidney to afford them. Maybe sell your least favourite child, (probably the ginger one), but nothing as important as a kidney. Please just contact me to ask for a quote and all we need to know is how many people you need testing and if they are working shifts then what the rough split is per shift.
When you ask for a quote we will provide you with a fixed price for a number of appointments with no hidden or additional charges.
When the audiometry quote is accepted
If you give the go-ahead, you will be provided with not just arrival and departure times for the day but also a schedule of hearing test appointment times throughout the day which ensure sufficient appointments and covering whatever shifts are being worked. The client can then add the names of the people to come as best fits the needs of their work to ensure minimal interruption to production.
The audiometry routine on the day
The audiometric testing is done to a set routine of:
- Before testing, measure the ambient noise levels at the start of the session and do an equipment check.
- The attendee completes a pre-test hearing health questionnaire.
- It is then reviewed by the audiometric technician with the attendee.
- An otoscope is used to examine the attendee's ears visually.
- The headphones are then placed on the victim and the audiometric test administered.
- Any relevant health data is noted on the audiogram.
- The result is explained to the attendee to make sure they understand it.
- The result is printed on the reverse of the health questionnaire and that is given back to the employee.
- A second copy is printed and this goes to the employer.
To just to reiterate that time is taken to explain the result to the attendee and they are given a copy of their result then and there - they are not simply sent on their way again. The employer receives a copy of the audiogram as well. A lot more on the report you will receive is given here.
If people aren't showing up for their tests the on-site, rather than the Technician just sitting there and twiddling their thumbs the contact will be spoken to so they can make sure people attend and the client isn't left not knowing that people haven't turned up until the end of the session when it is too late to do anything about it.
Audiometry results explained to employees
Regarding the information given to the employees during the test - we choose one specific type of audiometer which clearly shows their current result but also what are in effect target lines showing the limits of normal hearing for their age, along with any previous result if they've been tested before. This means they don't have to remember all the gubbins of '40 decibels at 6kHz' and instead have an easy visual reference for how their hearing is performing against expected standards for their age and against their own historical results.
The audiometry report
The Noise Chap operates on the basis that you, the client, receive all audiograms and a detailed audiometry report. All the information on the report you will receive is set out in detail on the Audiometry Report page.
Optional variations clients may choose
This is not mandatory and not a part of our normal routine, but a client can give me employee payroll numbers only and we can use that as the identifier and not use their name at all. We still need their date of birth and gender but we do not then have any way to attach a name to that. The attendee's home address, phone number, etc. are never asked for during the test as this is not relevant for workplace audiometry.
Health questionnaires to the client
The standard routine has been built this way as once the hearing test is done, 99% of the information on the health questionnaire is not relevant to any future hearing tests and never looked at again. Under GDPR, retention of data which is not relevant is not easily permitted. It is simpler therefore if we bypass the whole issue and neither the employer nor the company administering the hearing tests retains the health questionnaires and they are handed back to the employee once they are finished with. If there is a relevant health issue this will be noted on the audiogram itself and is therefore available for reference in future audiometric tests. We think this is by far the simplest way of managing the data while giving the employer the information they need.
However, the client can choose to receive the health questionnaires along with the result if they desire, for example if there is an in-house Occupational Health Department who manage all Occ. Health issues as well as Audiometry. This does mean that, except where the client has their own Occupational Health Department, the client would then need to be able to demonstrate that every employee has given consent for that data to be held by the client as large chunks of the data are of no further use and are not needed for any future regulatory compliance. The Client would need to prove this consent process to any future external inspectors but not to us as we will take the client's word for it and our basic principle of us gathering information for the client rather than for ourselves still applies and covers this. My advice though would be not to as it needlessly opens the client to a whole world of GDPR and data gathering loveliness in return for very little benefit.
The audiometry unit and testing location
The Noise Chap can offer testing in our properly lovely purpose-built mobile screening unit which can park on the site and operates off a single standard 240v power supply. It's right nice it is, with a separate waiting room where the pre-testing questionnaire can be completed, then a main testing room with a built-in audiometry booth.
Alternatively, if the client prefers we can do the hearing tests in a quiet space on the client's site which can be an office, conference room, medical room, etc. This has proved useful in the past, for example at a high-risk food production site where instead of employees coming out of the clean environment to go to and from the testing unit we stationed the screening equipment in the first aid room bang in the middle of the site meaning employees didn't have to change clothes to attend their test.
The choice of testing location is up to the client as best suits them, and needs to take into account ambient noise levels present for each.
Where spirometry is being done, this will be done in the same room as the audiometry.
Follow-up audiometry reminders
The only sales action from The Noise Chap will be to send you a reminder of when future tests are coming due and whether you want to book it in or not.
All audiometry provided by The Noise Chap will be compliant with the British Standard for Pure Tone Audiometry, and commits none of the sins listed in the page here on signs of poor audiometry.