It is compulsory for employers to arrange baseline hearing tests in prescribed workplaces, even if wearing hearing protection. All workers employed in a prescribed workplace for the first time must have a baseline hearing test within twelve months of commencing employment.
Who is responsible?
It is your employer’s responsibility to arrange and pay for all WorkCover WA audiometric tests. Prescribed workplaces
A prescribed workplace exists when workers receive a personal noise dose of 90dB(A) or above during an eight hour day, or its equivalent, and where such a day is representative of the worker’s typical work practices (approximately equal to the noise from an idling heavy motor truck at a distance of one metre). Any workers who receive noise above the peak exposure of 140dB(lin) on one or more occasions, even for a short time, will also require testing (approximately equal to the peak noise level from a mid to high calibre firearm at the user’s ear).
Baseline hearing tests
Compensation for noise induced hearing loss
A baseline hearing test is the initial audiometric testing conducted to establish your baseline (reference) or overall Percentage Loss of Hearing (PLH). The PLH of all subsequent tests will then be compared to the baseline PLH.
Note: You only require a baseline hearing test once in your lifetime. You may request in writing a subsequent test annually from your employer. You may be required to undergo a baseline full audiological assessment as part of the baseline hearing test, however this is only required by a relatively small percentage of the population.
Undergoing a baseline hearing test
Receiving the test results
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
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 Audiometric officers page.
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 your written consent.
If a subsequent audiometric test shows an increase in overall hearing loss of at least ten per cent from the baseline PLH, WorkCover WA will advise you and your employer of the requirement for further testing to determine if there is a compensable loss.
What happens next?
A subsequent full audiological assessment and examination by an ear, nose and throat specialist (if required) will be arranged to determine the nature and extent of the hearing loss.
Note: Compensation cannot be claimed for noise induced hearing loss which occurred before March 1991.
Compensation for partial or complete hearing impairment is determined by the percentage of the prescribed amount.
For more information contact Advice and Assistance on 1300 794 744.