An occupational hearing screening is highly important. Not only can it determine whether an employee is hearing well enough to perform their job duties, it can also help deduce if noise hazards in the workplace are causing a person hearing damage. A occupational hearing healthcare practitioner’s duty is to ensure nothing is missed during this examination. Here are 5 questions that should be asked during an occupational health hearing screening.
1. Have you had troubles hearing noises essential to your job duties?
Most jobs require a person to be able to hear, whether they’re merely communicating with others or working near dangerous machinery. When you see a patient, be sure to ask them if they feel like they aren’t hearing certain noises as well as they used to. Are they able to still hear warning alerts as sharply? Can they make out every word a peer speaks to them? This will help you obtain a better understanding if there has been any decline in hearing ability.
2. Are you able to sufficiently hear your coworkers and supervisors when they speak to you?
Communication is key in the workplace. If an employee can’t understand orders being dictated to them, it can lead to work being done incorrectly. When meeting with your patient, ask them if there have been any incidents where they misunderstood a job order because of hearing difficulty. If the answer is “yes,” you can have a further discussion on what they can do to improve their hearing so these incidents don’t happen again.
3. Do you operate or work close to noisy equipment or machinery?
This question is key to understanding where an employee’s hearing problems originate from. If they’re constantly operating a jackhammer without adequate hearing protection, then it’s likely that their hearing damage is being caused by their job duties. Likewise, if they’re instructing people on how to safely use firearms daily, chances are their hearing problems are a result of their work.
4. Are there any chemicals in the workplace that you come in direct contact with?
There are various chemicals that can cause hearing damage. These are called ototoxic chemicals. Occupations that are most likely to come in contact with these ototoxic chemicals include:
- Manufacturing occupations in the subsectors listed above
- Fueling vehicles and aircrafts
- Weapons firing
- Pesticide spraying
If you’re meeting with a patient who works in any of these professions, it would be a good idea to get an understanding of the chemicals they work with or around daily. This can help determine a cause of their hearing issues.
5. Does your employer provide...
Some professions require being around noisy equipment for prolonged periods of time. These people need to wear earplugs or earmuffs while on the job. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, being exposed to sounds 85 dBA or louder for eight hours can cause hearing damage. As the dBA increase, the amount of time you can safely be exposed without hearing protection decreases. Because of this, it’s wise to ask about what kind of equipment the patient works with or near and what kind of hearing protection their employer provides.
Asking these simple questions will help you get a better understanding of your patients hearing issues and the root of them. With this information, you’ll be able to help figure out ways to help your patient continue to work without worsening their hearing damage