Mining, construction, defence forces, manufacturing, carpentry, music…all these occupations have one thing in common. They are among the noisiest professions in Australia.
As per the Workers Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981, it is compulsory for employers in WA to arrange and pay for WorkCover WA hearing tests for all workers in prescribed “noisy” workplaces. Audiometric testing must be provided within 12 months of the worker commencing work in WA, regardless of whether the worker is wearing hearing protection.
Providing regular hearing tests can also help avoid potential workers compensation claims for Noise Induced Hearing Loss.
See more on audiometric testing in Perth and regional WA
Why do hearing tests?
Noise is a common cause of hearing loss in adults. During our lives, the cumulative effects of noise exposure at work, as well as busy city streets, loud recreational events and hobbies all take a toll on the delicate structures of the inner ear. This can result in permanent sensorineural hearing loss.
- Noise is part of everyday life, but loud noise can permanently damage your hearing.
- Exposure to workplace noise increases your risk of developing noise induced hearing loss (NIHL)*.
- Young or old, once you lose your hearing you can never get it back.
*Noise induced hearing loss is irreversible damage to the ears caused by exposure to high levels of noise, often in the workplace.
Symptoms and early signs of hearing loss
- Conversation becomes difficult or impossible
- Your family complains about the television being too loud
- You have trouble using the telephone
- You find it difficult to catch sounds like ‘t’, ‘d’ and ‘s’, so you confuse similar words
- Permanent tinnitus (ringing, whistling, buzzing or humming in the ears) can also be caused
Generally hearing loss is gradual. By the time you notice it though, it is probably too late.
Regular audiometric testing, or workplace hearing testing, allows for better risk management for the employer and greater awareness of any loss for the employee.
3 things to do before a hearing test
- Have your ears cleared of wax at least 2 days before your hearing test
- For 16 hours before your hearing test avoid exposure to loud noise (eg. anything louder than a domestic vacuum cleaner) that lasts more than a few minutes.
- Try to be free of illness that includes mucus build-up in the middle ear (eg. a head cold or flu)
We want to prevent workplace hearing loss before it happens.
The Model Code of Practice Managing noise and preventing hearing loss at work provides practical advice for all types of workplaces.
Contact us to understand more about looking after your hearing.
Because when it’s gone, it’s gone!