Hearing tests are offered to employees who are exposed to noise in the workplace of >80dB(A) daily or cumulative weekly noise exposure.  This follows the Safety Health and Welfare at Work (Control of Noise at Work) Regulations 2006.   The purpose is to safeguard employees working in noisy environments from noise induced hearing loss (NIHL). Audiometry will not reverse hearing loss which has already occurred. Early detection of hearing loss allows for appropriate medical follow up of the individual and remedial action in the workplace. A noise survey must be carried out by the parent department to assess if there is a risk to employees before an audiometric testing is offered.

The audiograms are carried out by an occupational health nurse in the CSOHD.  Following the first audiogram, subsequent audiograms are done at one to three year intervals thereafter, depending on the initial audiogram findings. All employees attending for hearing tests are given a copy of their audiogram, an explanation of the results and advised accordingly.  Occasionally, the CSOHD will refer an employee to an Ear Nose and Throat Consultant for further review if there is any concern of a rapid deterioration in hearing on testing.

An employee being recruited into a potentially noisy area is required to supply a baseline audiogram at the pre-employment medical stage. This is to ensure that there is baseline reference audiogram available in case of future hearing difficulties.