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CAOHC

Occupational Hearing Conservationist

OHC Scope of Practice

Hearing Health History

Before the Occupational Hearing Conservationist (OHC) performs the air-conduction hearing test, it is important to obtain a thorough hearing health history. This information helps determine the need for a medical referral or work-related determination.

Visual Inspection of the Ear

Before performing audiometric testing, visually inspect the ear to rule out conditions (eg, cerumen impaction) that might interfere with testing or earplug fitting.

Audiometric Testing

Audiometric testing includes baseline, annual testing and retesting on a manual or microprocessor audiometer.

Screening Audiograms

The OHC is responsible for identifying problem audiograms for review by an audiologist, physician or otolaryngologist who is a Council for Accreditation of Occupational Hearing Conservation (CAOHC) certified Professional Supervisor of the Audiometric Monitoring Program (CPS/A).

Employee Referral

The OHC may need to refer employees to medical sources for further audiometric testing or medical treatment.

Audiometric Equipment Maintenance

Audiometric equipment maintenance includes ensuring that functional checks of the audiometer and booth are conducted before use each day. The OHC is also responsible for ensuring that the audiometer is calibrated annually and that related equipment logs and forms are updated regularly.

Employee Notification of a Standard Threshold Shift (STS)

The OHC must ensure that employees are notified in writing within 21 days after identifying an STS. The OHC also refits or retrains employees in the appropriate use of their hearing protection devices.

Recordkeeping

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the OHC must ensure that the employer maintains accurate records of all employee exposure measurements and audiometric tests (see OSHA Guidance 29 CFR 1910.95 (m)1-5 for more information).

Education, Training and Counseling

Although the OHC works primarily with those in the hearing conservation program (HCP), education and training can extend outside the program (plant managers, office personnel). Training and education must cover the following areas:

Hearing Protection Education

The OHC provides specific education regarding hearing protection in these areas:

Limitations

OHC certification has limitations. Certification and training does not prepare individuals (unless a licensed audiologist, physician or otolaryngologist) to: