Protect Your Workforce’s Hearing Health With hearTest Occ Health

Continuous exposure to excessive noise levels in workplaces is a major cause of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) globally and can significantly reduce the quality of life and economic productivity of the workforce. NIHL accounts for approximately 4 million years of healthy life lost, due to disability worldwide. The lack of periodic hearing testing of industrial workers, a high-risk group, also delays the detection of NIHL and represents a neglected public health concern. To prevent such issues, it is vital for employers to implement a hearing conservation program in the workplace.

Protect Your Workforce’s Hearing Health With hearTest Occ Health

Hearing conservation programs are designed to reduce and possibly eliminate the development of hearing loss that was caused as a result of exposure to excessive noise levels and ototoxic chemicals in the workplace. The priority of controls is a systematic approach to limiting workplace hazards and gives priority to the most effective measures.

Traditionally, hearing conservation programs have been implemented using conventional audiometers (usually stationary and requires a sound booth). As a result there have been many challenges encountered with these testing programs, such as:

  • Failure to define in measurable terms what the hearing test is attempting to identify
  • Failure to maintain confidentiality
  • Errors in tests being administered by poorly trained personnel
  • High noise levels in the testing zone
  • Lengthy test administration
  • Failure to differentiate between a positive screen and a positive diagnosis
  • Failure to monitor screening program and records
  • Worker down-time
  • Only 80% of workers being tested
  • High costs associated with a program

hearTest Occ Health is an innovative tablet-based hearing conservation solution that enables in-house staff to conduct booth-less, on-site hearing tests, with real-time noise monitoring. This means that employers can easily identify and address potential hearing health issues before they become a more significant problem. hearTest Occ Health also allows employers to track and manage employee records and training, provide personalized hearing protection recommendations, and comply with regulatory requirements.

The solution is entirely mobile, meaning it can be used in remote locations, making it an ideal solution for industries such as manufacturing, construction, mining and oil and gas. hearTest Occ Health is easy-to-use, and results can be obtained quickly, so that OH&S specialists can swiftly identify and address any potential hearing health issues.

hearTest Occ Health is a comprehensive hearing conservation testing solution that holds various accreditations and certifications, including IEC-60645-1, ANSI S3.6, ISO 8253-1, ISO 389 series, SANS, NAL, OSHA, and HSE. These certifications and accreditations play a crucial role in ensuring workplace compliance with hearing conservation regulations and standards.

hearTest Occ Health works seamlessly with the hearScope AI digital video otoscope to examine the  eardrum and ear canal and attach the images to the occupational hearing report. hearScope includes artificial intelligence* eardrum image classification to identify normal, wax obstruction, chronic perforation and abnormal conditions (*AI in Beta-phase).

Technological advances in medical care have given rise to digital medical devices that improve the productivity and efficiency of conducting hearing conservation programs. As a result, it is advisable for hearing conservation programs to utilize advanced digital devices to facilitate audiometric testing for improved quality control, time- and resource-efficiency, and paperless data management and reporting.

hearTest Occ Health is launched from mHealth Studio, which allows seamless synchronization between   hearTest Occ Health on the smart device and the Health Studio Cloud electronic health record platform. .  This allows for data capturing, management, surveillance, referrals, report generation and secure usage anywhere, anytime.

Using a mobile digital audiometer in the occupational hearing health conservation sector has proven to be beneficial in multiple ways. Some of the common challenges that hearTest Occ Health address include:

Time-efficiency

The introduction of automated testing and smart algorithms significantly decreases the time required to administer a hearing test. Reduced time also results in increased productivity, making it possible to test more people in a shorter period of time.

Effectiveness

Due to the automated design and user-friendly interface, the device allows for increased productivity and effectiveness in carrying out a well designed occupational hearing health program.

Reduced costs

One of the main benefits of digitizing hearing tests is a reduction in costs by 50-70% – using information and communications technology (ICT) solutions that are safer, cheaper and more productive.

Portability

Digital audiometers are usually operated using a smartphone, computer or tablet interface making it much easier to move around without affecting the calibration of the device and allowing for testing to occur on-site or at convenient locations. The digitization of the audiometer allows for testing in environments that do not have access to power as well as for offline use.

Automated reporting

Results obtained are stored and automatically processed to produce reports that are pre-populated with all the regulatory information necessary.

Automated testing and calculations

The use of smart algorithms and automated test sequencing allow for tests to be conducted accurately with less reliance on personnel and reduced risks of human error in test validity. Important calculations like the percentage loss of hearing (PLH) and standard threshold shift (STS) are automatically calculated with increased accuracy. Some devices, such as hearTest Occ Health, have been clinically-validated to prove the clinical effectiveness of digital testing.

Data management

The device allows for paperless storage of data that is instantly consolidated onto a secure online database. The results can be easily accessed to compare records for compensation claims and legal implications.

Noise monitoring

hearTest Occ Health utilizes built-in sound level monitors to regulate ambient noise levels and alert the user when noise levels could potentially impact testing reliability.

Quality control

The use of built-in quality control mechanisms such as monitoring of false positive results, response times and user quality index, reduces on-site error and ensures validity of results obtained for accurate testing.

As the CEO of a large integrated medical facility, I had a need and purchased hearX’s hearTest Occ Health solution about a year ago to perform occupational hearing exams for over 200 firefighters and paramedics that are working in a field where their hearing exposure is quite significant and affected daily by the sounds of sirens, explosions and horns as well as many other occupational sound exposures.

Ensuring that these professionals maintain and protect their hearing is not just something that is crucial and important but it is also nationally required that they be monitored yearly by the NFPA1582 Standard which is the Standard for the Comprehensive Occupational Medical programs that all departments all over the United States must adhere to.

I am so extremely happy with my decision to go with hearX. The quality and ease of the device use is exceptional and I can confidently say that the hearX device has exceeded our expectations in every way. The testing that is performed by our trained technicians is simple to do and it has also been easy to teach other technicians to perform these tests as well.

The results are accurate and always achieved without any great effort; while also presenting no difficulties. These easy to read results are reported with the ranges being dialed in exactly where I need them to be as they are required by the standards set forth for these professionals we are testing.

Over the last year, I have worked closely with the hearX team and their assistance has always been prompt, concise and the communication has been superb. I would highly recommend this product to anyone.”

– Martha Pruess, Practice Administrator at FL Neuro Pain & Spine Center, P.A.

To get more information and see the award-winning solution in action:

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Sources

  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. (2019). Occupational Noise Exposure: OSHA Standards and Enforcement. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/98-126/default.html
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). Noise and Hearing Loss Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/noise/default.html
  • World Health Organization. (2018). Addressing the Rising Prevalence of Hearing Loss. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/activities/addressing-the-rising-prevalence-of-hearing-loss
  • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2022). Hearing Conservation. Retrieved from https://www.asha.org/practice-portal/professional-issues/hearing-conservation/
    IEC 60645-1: Electroacoustics – Audiometric Equipment – Part 1: Pure-Tone Audiometers. (n.d.). International Electrotechnical Commission. Retrieved from https://www.iec.ch/standards/60645-1/ed3.0/
  • American National Standards Institute (ANSI). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ansi.org/
  • ISO 8253-1:2010(en), Acoustics — Audiometric test methods — Part 1: Pure-tone air conduction audiometry. (n
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Author

Qaisar S. Chattha

Qaisar S. Chattha is a proficient HSE Professional with over 8 years of experience in the construction industry, currently serving in Saudi Arabia. In a field known for its dynamic and often high-risk environments, Qaisar's role is essential in ensuring the safety and well-being of workers. His expertise lies in implementing and enforcing strict safety protocols, conducting site inspections, and identifying potential hazards to prevent accidents.