Occupational Noise and Hearing Conservation
Hearing loss due to noise exposure is among one of the most pervasive and preventable occupational health problems. Fortunately, hearing conservation programs can reduce and prevent noise induced hearing loss. A hearing conservation program is more than just supplying hearing protective devices; it also consists of worksite noise assessment, noise monitoring, employee education, and audiometric testing and recordkeeping. University employees who would like a noise exposure evaluation should ask their supervisor to contact the DEHS Industrial Hygiene Manager, or call 852-2949.
University of Louisville employees whose occupational noise exposure exceeds 85 decibels for an 8-hour time-weighted average must be enrolled in the U of L Hearing Conservation Program. Most university work sites do not pose noise hazards. Even so, results of worksite assessments and noise monitoring surveys confirm there are limited areas where noise exposures reach this threshold. Currently hearing conservation programs have been established for Steam and Chill Plant workers and groundskeepers in the Physical Plant as well as for cage wash workers and animal care technicians in the Research Resource Facilities.
Affected departments are responsible for implementation of all aspects of the Hearing Conservation Program in their areas. This includes developing a written plan, requesting noise monitoring, providing annual audiometric testing, providing a selection of appropriate hearing protection devices, employee training and maintaining documents. DEHS conducts hearing conservation training and is available to assist with the unit-specific written plan, noise monitoring, selection of hearing protection and locating a hearing test provider.