Noise & Hearing Conservation

Drury University’s Noise and Hearing Conservation program is designed to prevent hearing loss from occupational noise exposure. Under this program, Drury University provides employees with the proper protection against the effects of noise exposure when sound levels exceed an 8 hour time weighted average (TWA) of 85 decibels (dBA). Administrative and/or engineering control measures will be provided initially to reduce noise level as low as feasible. If these control measures fail to reduce noise within acceptable limits, personal protective equipment will be provided to Drury University employees.

Drury University’s Noise and Hearing Conservation program consists of five parts:

  1. Exposure Monitoring;
  2. Audiometric Testing;
  3. Hearing Protection;
  4. Employee Training; and
  5. Record Keeping.

1. Exposure Monitoring

Depending upon the work location and frequency of operations, noise exposure monitoring will be conducted with area sound level measurements, personal dosimetry, or a combination of these techniques. A sampling strategy will be conducted to identify areas that employees are likely to be exposed to noise levels at or above the action level.

Measurements will be made with calibrated equipment operated by trained personnel from Facilities Services. Monitoring will be repeated whenever any changes in the process, equipment or controls may increase noise exposure. This will determine the adequacy of hearing protectors being used, and whether new employees or job functions will be required to be included in this program. Employee noise exposures will be reassessed periodically, and employees will be notified with the results.

2. Audiometric Testing

Human Resources manage the audiometric testing component of the Noise and Hearing Conservation program. The purpose of the audiometry is to determine whether or not hearing conservation efforts are effective. Employees who are affected by this program will be given audiograms upon employment and annually thereafter. Individuals will be notified in writing within 21 days when an audiogram indicates a Standard Threshold Shift (STS). If this hearing loss is determined to be work related, the employee will be required to wear hearing protection, retrained in their use and care, and will be referred for a clinical audiological examination if needed. If subsequent audiometric testing indicates that the STS is not persistent, the individual will be informed of this and hearing protection requirements may be discontinued if exposures are less than 85 dBA.

3. Hearing Protection

Hearing protection will be available to all employees exposed to noise levels at or above the action level of 8 hr TWA 85 dBA. Hearing protection is required for all who work in areas where noise levels exceed the action limit. Hearing protectors must provide a noise reduction rating sufficient to lower the noise below the action level. The choice of hearing protector style will be made between Supervisors and the Safety Officer. Training from Supervisors and the Safety Officer will provide employees with information about proper fitting and use of all hearing protectors.

4. Employee Training and Information

Training is conducted annually and required for all employees exposed to noise levels at or above the action level. Training entails the following:

  • OSHA’s Noise Standard and Drury University’s Noise and Hearing Conservation Program
  • Overview of the hazards associated with excessive noise exposure
  • Purpose, characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages of different hearing protectors
  • Selection, fitting, and care of protectors
  • Audiometric testing

A copy of the Noise and Hearing Conservation handout is available in Facilities Services, Human Resources, or Administrative Services.

5. Record Keeping

Drury University’s Safety Officer will maintain employee exposure measurements and training records for at least 30 years. Records of audiometric test results will be kept by Human Resources for the 30 years as well. Audiometric records include the following:

  • Name of employee and job classification
  • Date of audiometric testing
  • Examiner’s name
  • Date of last calibration of audiometer

Areas on campus where noise levels exceed 85 dBA will have signs posted noting the high noise environment and the requirement to wear hearing protection.