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Comprehensive Audiometry Health Surveillance Guidelines for Employers

July 4, 2024

Comprehensive Audiometry Health Surveillance Guidelines for Employers

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for Occupational Health has revised the Audiometry Health Surveillance guidance. These changes are essential for improving the detection and management of Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) among employees.

Overview of the New Guidance

Under the new guidelines, clinicians are directed to consider any 'notches' or 'dips' of 10dB at any frequency as potential indicators of Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). These will be classified as Category 3 results, which require immediate attention and follow-up. This change applies to both newly identified notches and progressive notches, ensuring even minor declines in hearing are closely monitored and managed.

Implications for Employers

For employers, the updated guidelines mean a likely increase in Category 2 and Category 3 results. This will lead to earlier recalls and more frequent referrals to Occupational Health Physicians, who will oversee the ongoing management of the employee’s Audiometry Health Surveillance programme.

Increased Frequency of Health Surveillance

With the stricter interpretation criteria, employers should be prepared for:

●      More health surveillance recalls: Employees may need to undergo follow-up assessments more frequently.

●      Frequent referrals to Occupational Health Physicians: Regular consultations with specialists will be necessary to manage and mitigate the risks associated with NIHL.

●      Proactive management of NIHL: Early detection and intervention are critical to preventing the progression of hearing loss, which can impact employee health and workplace productivity.

Staying Informed and Proactive

TAC Healthcare understands that these changes may raise questions or concerns among employers. To support their clients through this transition, TAC Healthcare provides clear information and access to their senior clinical team for any needed assistance.

Keeping Up with the Latest Developments

In April 2024, draft guidance for interpreting audiograms for occupational NIHL was published, with an update in May 2024. These ongoing refinements highlight the importance of staying up to date with best practices in occupational health.

By adhering to the updated guidelines, employers can better protect their workforce from the long-term effects of noise exposure, fostering a safer and more compliant workplace environment.

The updated HSE guidance represents a crucial advancement in occupational health. By refining the criteria for interpreting audiometry results, TAC Healthcare aims to more effectively identify and manage Noise Induced Hearing Loss, ensuring better outcomes for employees.

Employers are encouraged to reach out to TAC Healthcare’s senior clinical team via their account managers for any questions or further information. Implementing these changes will help create a safer, healthier workplace for everyone.