Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to most questions related to the OHC may be found in the OHC section of this website. Here are a few of the most common questions that are posed to the CAOHC staff members.
Q: Is OHC training required just to administer the hearing tests?
A: 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. Audiometric technicians are not allowed to interpret audiograms, diagnose ear disorders, or refer to specialized care.
While certification is not mandatory, it does provide proof that a technician has met a high standard of training (minimum 20 hours of instruction), taken and passed a national 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.
Q: Is specific training required to oversee a Hearing Conservation program?
A: OSHA’s Noise standard paragraphs 1910.95(g)(3), (g)(7)(iii), and (g)(9), outline the requirements that professionals, specifically audiologists, otolaryngologists, or other physicians must oversee the audiometric testing program. The Professional Supervisor of the Audiometric Monitoring Program© (PS) Course was created by CAOHC to clarify the PS responsibilities as stated in the federal regulation. Additionally, the CAOHC Hearing Conservation Manager course was specifically created to prepare attendees to effectively manage a hearing conservation program utilizing seven elements of an effective hearing conservation program and to navigate regulatory compliance.
Q: If I leave my current employer, does my Council for Accreditation in Occupational Hearing Conservation (CAOHC) Certified Occupational Hearing Conservationist (COHC) certification become my employer's property?
A: No, the COHC certification is awarded to the individual who successfully completes all the requirements for the credential. Even if an employer pays for the course and certification, the certification is awarded to the individual and only that individual can use the credential to perform audiometric tests and other responsibilities in the hearing conservation program. Other technicians, supervisors or the employer cannot use or share the COHC certification number. If you have concerns, contact the Professional Supervisor (PS) who is the licensed physician or audiologist providing oversight of your hearing conservation program (HCP).
Q: Who is responsible for remembering the expiration date of the certification?
A: You are responsible for maintaining your certification since the CAOHC number is yours and not your employer's. You will receive a 6-month and a 1-year recertification notification from CAOHC to the email you have on record with us. Please let us know if your email changes.
Q: Does CAOHC offer any extension on certification expiration?
A: All extension requests must be received by the CAOHC administrative office at least 30 days before expiration of the certification, subject to approval by CAOHC. This exception is intended for COHCs having difficulty locating a course in a specific geographic area, serious illness or other extenuating circumstances. To request an extension, go to the My CAOHC Account link on our home page.
Q: How long is my COHC certification valid?
A: The COHC certification expiration date is set for 5 years from the date you complete the course, not the exam.
Q: How can I get a copy of my certificate or find my CAOHC certificate number and expiration date?
A: You can get a copy of your certificate by going to the My CAOHC Account link on our home page. Once you log in, under the OHC Heading, look for Certificate. You can click here to get an instant copy of your certificate.
Q: Do I need a license as an audiometric technician in my state?
A: Licensing requirements are determined by the state. Some state government agencies may claim jurisdiction over your actions as a COHC. For example, Oregon and Washington Departments of Labor require CAOHC certification for OHCs, while the Department of Health in Texas requires registration of all audiometric technicians, including COHCs.
Your state audiology licensure board may require audiologists to register COHCs as an audiology aide. Likewise, COHCs operating under the supervision of a physician are typically subject to a state's medical practice laws. To find out about your state's license requirements, contact your hearing conservation program manager or your professional supervisor (audiologist or physician).
Q: Is there an exam for the OHC course?
A: For both the 20-hour certification course and the 8-hour recertification course, it is required that participants pass a national standardized written exam in addition to practical examinations on audiometric testing and hearing protection fitting given during the course.
The national standardized written exam is intended to address the following objectives:
1. Evaluate the level of knowledge obtained through the classroom experience.
2. Determine whether the student has gained sufficient knowledge to work as a COHC.
3. Reinforce course content and provide additional learning opportunities.
4. Standardize the student's course experience and enhance the credibility and value of the COHC credential.
Q: How do I know if the course I am attending is CAOHC-approved?
A: All CAOHC courses listed on this website have been approved by CAOHC. Additionally, CAOHC issues a certificate of course approval to the course director, which should be displayed at your course. If you do not see this certificate, ask for it.
Q: How do I get Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for taking this CAOHC course?
A: If course directors wish to offer continuing education credits for their COHC courses, they are individually responsible for submitting all applications to the continuing education board for the association granting the continuing education credits, i.e. the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses, the American Academy of Audiology, the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, etc. CAOHC does not provide this service or approve courses for CEUs. Participants will need to contact their instructor directly to see if their course is approved for CEUs.
Q: How do I find and register for a CAOHC course in my area? What does it cost?
A: CAOHC-approved courses are listed on this website. To find a course, visit the OHC Course Search Listings section. Contact the course director to register and obtain cost details, which will vary by course depending on instructor and location.
Q: I was certified as a Hearing Tech through the DoD, my job currently requires a COHC certification, do I have to take full certification course with CAOHC?
A: If you took a DOEHRS class that was approved by CAOHC and were awarded the DOEHRS certificate, it means that you successfully completed the practicum portion of the CAOHC course. You will need to take and pass the CAOHC standardized exam to earn the COHC certification. You will need to pay the CAOHC examination fee.
Q: What is the difference between a Professional Supervisor of the Audiometric Monitoring Program (PS) and a supervisor/manager of the hearing conservation program?
A: According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Hearing Conservation Amendment 29 CFR 1910.95(g)(3), the audiologist, otolaryngologist, or physician overseeing the audiometric monitoring program is the Professional Supervisor. The PS ensures that audiograms for monitoring noise-exposed workers are correctly administered and interpreted and trains and advises the COHC. Please refer to the Scope of Practice: The Professional Supervisor of the Audiometric Monitoring Program for more information.
Conversely, a supervisor/manager of an HCP is typically a safety professional, human resources administrator or other management-level company personnel. This supervisor/manager is responsible for the HCP's overall management and effectiveness and may also directly supervise the COHC.