Find out about baseline hearing tests for prescribes workplaces and compensable noise induced hearing loss.

Go to Noise induced hearing loss.

Workers employed in a prescribed workplace for the first time must have an initial baseline audiometric hearing test within twelve months of commencing employment. It is compulsory for the employer to arrange pay for the audiometric test, (regardless of hearing protection being worn).

Who is responsible?

It is your employer’s responsibility to arrange and pay for all WorkCover WA audiometric tests.

A prescribed workplace is a workplace or part of a workplace where workers receive or are likely to receive a representative daily noise dose (8 hour day) of 90dB(A) or above (approximately equal to the noise from an idling heavy motor truck at a distance of one metre). Or a peak noise exposure of 140dB(lin) at any time (approximately equal to the peak noise level from a blast or siren being sounded in close proximity to the worker).
Audiometric hearing test requirements

A baseline hearing test is the initial audiometric testing conducted to establish your baseline (reference) or overall Percentage Loss of Hearing (PLH). A small percentage of workers may be required to undertake a baseline fill audiological assessment as part of the baseline hearing assessment.

Note: Workers undergo one baseline hearing test in their lifetime. Workers can request in writing a subsequent test annually from their employer. The PLH of all subsequent tests will be compared to the baseline PLH to determine the overall percentage loss of hearing.

It is your employer’s responsibility to arrange and pay for baseline and subsequent tests. The employer must notify you of the time and date of the test. It is the responsibility of both you and your employer to ensure that you are not exposed to more than 80dB(A) for 16 hours immediately preceding the test (approximately equal to the noise of a vacuum cleaner at a distance of one metre).

Approved Audiometric Officers & Audiologists

Only testers approved by WorkCover WA can conduct the tests as the testing environment and equipment must also meet stringent standards. For more information and a directory of providers, see the NIHL Directory of Service Providers  for location of testers.

All test results must be submitted to WorkCover WA by the Approved Audiometric Officer/Audiologist and a copy provided to you, within one month of the test taking place. The results are strictly confidential and access cannot be granted to anyone without a workers’ written consent.

If a subsequent audiometric test shows an increase in overall hearing loss of ten per cent or more from the baseline PLH, WorkCover WA will advise the worker of the requirement for further testing.  An information pack will be sent to the worker, this will include a Further Testing Nomination Form (list of audiologists and ENT specialist) and a Notice of Arrangement of Audiometric Test Form, if the worker elects to undertake further testing, the worker is required to give these forms to their employer to complete and return to them. The employer is to arrange and pay for the cost of the worker’s appointment with an audiologist selected from the list of Audiologists and Ear, Nose and Throat specialists.  The worker is to take the Notice with them to give to the audiologist prior to undertaking the subsequent full audiological test.

What happens next?

The worker’s subsequent full audiological assessment and report will be submitted to WorkCover WA by the audiologist to determine the nature and extent of the hearing loss.  If required, the worker will arrange an appointment with the Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist (ENT) selected by the employer from the list of ENT specialists.  The ENT specialist will assess and determine the nature and extent of the hearing loss.  The employer is responsible to pay for the cost of the ENT assessment.

Note: Compensation cannot be claimed for noise induced hearing loss which occurred before March 1991.

Compensation entitlements

Compensation for partial or complete hearing impairment is determined by the percentage of the prescribed amount.

The insurer of the last employer on risk is required to make the full lump sum payment, the insurer is then able to recover some or all of this amount from other insurers when it is identified that the worker has been employed in other prescribed workplaces.

For more information contact Advice and Assistance on 1300 794 744.

This form can be used by the worker or employers when disputing the results of an audiometric hearing test.

Form 21: Notice of Dispute (noise induced hearing loss) (Word – 121kb)

NIHL Publications for workers: