Why You Need an Occupational Hearing Conservationist (OHC)
Why do I need a certified OHC in my hearing conservation program?
According to OSHA’s Occupational Noise Exposure Standard, 29 CFR 1910.95, hearing tests can only be administered by a licensed or certified audiologist, physician, a CAOHC certified Occupational Hearing Conservationist, or by a technician who has demonstrated competence in administering audiometric testing and who is responsible to an audiologist, otolaryngologist, or physician. While certification is not mandatory, it does provide proof that a technician has met a high standard of training, passed a standardized examination leading to certification, and demonstrated competence in administering audiometric examinations, obtaining valid audiograms, and properly using, maintaining and checking calibration and proper functioning of the audiometers being used.
The Council for Accreditation in Occupational Hearing Conservation (CAOHC) approves workshops around the world to train and certify Occupational Hearing Conservationists (OHCs). More than a mere hearing technician, the Certified OHC (COHC) has completed a rigorous training program consisting of a minimum of 20 hours of targeted education related to best practices in hearing conservation ranging from monitoring audiometry and anatomy, physiology and diseases of the ear, to the properties of sound, noise measurement and control, and hearing protection devices.
CAOHC training is unique because it requires students to complete a minimum of 180 minutes of hands-on audiometric practicum and 60 minutes of hearing protection fitting practicum. All practica are completed under the direct supervision of a CAOHC approved Course Director who attests to the competency of the OHC. Certified Occupational Hearing Conservationists have also demonstrated mastery of the subjects learned by taking and passing the CAOHC standardized written examination. The CAOHC COHC credential is valid for five years.
A COHC possesses the capability to serve as a key member of the hearing conservation team. Many Federal, State, and local policies require COHC training for individuals conducting monitoring audiometry as part of a hearing conservation program (HCP), but in addition to any regulatory requirement, the use of a COHC in your company HCP represents a best-practice approach not only to monitoring audiometry, but to hearing conservation in general. When COHCs are involved in company HCPs, employees have access to a subject matter experts in hearing protection fitting, hearing health education, and addressing the needs of the HCP beyond monitoring audiometry alone. CAOHC fully endorses the use of the COHC in all HCPs.