Industrial Hearing Tests

Hearing loss incurred in the workplace is a compensable disease in terms of Schedule 3 of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Disease Act (COID act).  If workers are exposed to sound levels greater than 85dB, a hearing loss can develop.

Baseline Hearing Tests

Instruction 171 requires that baseline hearing tests are conducted on all workers after a noise free period, within 30 days of employment

Periodic Hearing Screening

According to the Mine Health and Safety act (MHSA) and the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) the employer should follow a program of medical surveillance. The audiological surveillance is done with screening hearing tests. The objective of screening tests is to monitor the hearing status of the individual and to identify auditory damage. Workers exposed to noise levels of 85 dB and more should be tested annually and workers exposed to >105 dB 6 monthly. Workers with a hearing loss that has deteriorated by 10 % from the baseline should be referred for a diagnostic test

Occupational Diagnostic Hearing Tests

Diagnostic tests are performed by an Audiologist registered by the HPCSA. The workers must be noise free for 24 hrs. Two diagnostic tests need to be performed if the diagnostic test has confirmed the 10% shift. The two tests should be consistent in that the 2 tests should be within 10 dB of each other at every frequency. The percentage hearing loss is calculated using actuarial tables weighted according to the importance of the frequencies of 500 Hz, 1000 Hz, 2000, 3000, 4000 Hz respectively.

Compensation Claims

    The worker must be exposed to noise of 85 dB or more at work or have been injured at work. The hearing must have deteriorated by more than 10 % from the baseline. The following documents need to be submitted:
    1. An employers report on the occupational disease/ injury and a service record
    2. 2 consistent audiograms
    3. The audiologist should verify the worker’s identity and countersign a copy of the ID document
    4. The occupational medical practitioner should do a medical report if the percentage hearing loss is less than 30 %. An ENT report is required if the hearing loss is more than 30 %. The medical report should clearly state whether the hearing loss is occupational or not. The medical and occupational history need to be taken into consideration.
    5. The 2 baseline tests

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