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Courses Leading to Certification and Recertification as an Occupational Hearing Conservationist (OHC):
Scope of Practice, Objectives and Limitations

  1. Scope of Practice: The Occupational Hearing Conservationist (OHC; also known as an industrial audiometric technician) can, with supervision, conduct the practice of hearing conservation including pure-tone air-conduction hearing testing and associated duties (related to knowledge gained as described in Section II below). The OHC is expected to be a key member of the Occupational Hearing Conservation Program Team. OHC skills are intended for the occupational setting and may not be applicable in nonoccupational practices.
  2. Course Objectives:  To prepare students to be eligible for certification through the Council for Accreditation in Occupational Hearing Conservation (CAOHC). Students will gain background knowledge as well as a basic and fundamental understanding of the following:
    1. Responsibilities and limitations of an OHC, including the need for supervision by an audiologist or physician (referred to as the Professional Supervisor of the Audiometric Monitoring Program).
    2. Responsibilities of other members of the OHC Program Team, with particular attention to the professional supervisor
    3. Basic anatomy and physiology as they relate to hearing evaluation
    4. Types and causes of hearing loss
    5. Parameters of sound as they relate to hearing conservation
    6. Hearing Conservation Regulations: Federal (OSHA) (and, as applicable: State, MSHA, and Department of Defense)
    7. Types of audiometric instrumentation
    8. Performance check and calibration of audiometric instrumentation
      1. Biological
      2. Electroacoustic (in concept)
    9. Care and troubleshooting of instrumentation
    10. Pure-tone threshold testing and otoscopic screening techniques
    11. Appropriate feedback to employees concerning test results and criteria for employee referral.
    12. Basic concepts and principles of noise measurement and control
    13. Personal hearing protection devices
      1. Types and selection
      2. Fitting, as well as training employees to fit and use
      3. Monitoring
    14. Employee hearing conservation education, training, and motivation
    15. Basics concepts and principles of hearing conservation program evaluation
    16. Recordkeeping
  3. Limitations: OHC certification has specific meaning and limitations. Certification does not prepare an individual (unless otherwise qualified) to:
    1. Assume the role of a professional supervisor of the audiometric monitoring portion of a hearing conservation program
    2. Assume the role of an instructor of other OHCs
    3. Interpret audiograms
    4. Conduct any type of audiometric testing other than air conduction, such as bone-conduction testing or speech audiometry
    5. Diagnose hearing disorders
    6. Independently evaluate hearing conservation program effectiveness
    7. Conduct noise surveys and analyses, or be responsible for noise-control solutions