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Hearing Conservation Program

The primary objective of the Vanderbilt University Hearing Conservation Program (HCP) is to prevent permanent noise-induced hearing loss resulting from on-the-job noise exposure.

The Hearing Conservation Program at Vanderbilt University is implemented in partnership betwen VEHS and the Vanderbilt Occupational Health Clinic (OHC).   VEHS performs Noise Surveys, recommends Personal Protective Equipment, provides training for affected employees and recommends location and placement of warning signs, where necessary.  The Occupational Health Clinic provides annual hearing testing.

Requirements

The regulatory requirement set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Tennessee Occupational Safety & Health Association (TOSHA) requires employers to provide employees with proper protection against the effects of noise exposure when sound levels exceed an 8-hour time weighted average (TWA) of 90 dBA. If documented levels exceed 85 dBA for an 8-hour TWA, then a hearing conservation program must be provided at no cost to the employees.  The protective measures provided to the employees may be provided either through a combination of engineering and/or administrative controls. These control methods should be exhausted prior to permanent use of personal protective equipment. 

Program Components

  1. Noise Surveys
    • VEHS conducts noise surveys as needed through job hazard surveys, requests from the Occupational Health Clinic and departments. If you are a supervisor or an employee and suspect that someone may be exposed to high noise levels, you are obligated to contact VEHS and request noise monitoring.
    • One indicator that noise levels may be too high is when people raise their voices during personal conversation. Supervisors are responsible for requesting additional noise monitoring when any changes occur in production, process, equipment or controls which might increase employee exposure to increased noise levels.
  2. Hearing Testing
    • The Vanderbilt Occupational Health Clinic (OHC) conducts annual hearing testing and maintains records of the test results for employees who have been identified by VEHS as needing to be included in a Hearing Conservation Program.  More information about OHC's responsibilties in the Vanderbilt Hearing Protection Program is available on the OHC web site at Hearing Test Services.
  3. Training
    • Annual Hearing Conservation training is provided by VEHS.
  4. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
    • When administrative and engineering control measures are inadequate to protect employees from hearing loss, VEHS provides recommendations for appropriate hearing protection PPE.

Hearing Protection Resource Links

Questions

For more information regarding the Hearing Conservation Program, please contact Mark Bogard (mark.j.bogard@vanderbilt.edu) for noise evaluation requests.  Please contact the Occupational Health Clinic for medical information related to hearing loss.

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