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Hearing Conservation Program

Sample Written Program

This sample program has been prepared to provide assistance in compliance with USA OSHA standards and/or Best Management Practices.  It should not be used without consideration of the unique conditions and requirements at each site.  It may be necessary to modify the program for your specific needs.  You remain under obligation to comply with all applicable standards, and use of this program should not be considered to be a guarantee that compliance with applicable requirements will be achieved.  It is strongly suggested that your final program be reviewed by a qualified person.   The best written program without implementation is inadequate.






Hearing conservation is an important aspect of the overall safety and health program. Workplace noise can cause hearing loss, create physical and psychological stress, and contribute to accidents by making it difficult to communicate. An estimated 14 million employees throughout the United States are exposed to hazardous noise.

Fortunately, noise exposure can be controlled. Every effort is made to use quieter processes, machinery, and equipment. When feasible engineering controls do not reduce the noise level to or below the OSHA permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 90 dB, proper hearing protectors are used. Also, all employees exposed to noise levels above 85 dB are included in a hearing conservation program. There are many reasons for providing an effective hearing conservation program, including:

  • protecting the organization's most important resource - employees,
  • providing a safe and healthful workplace, and
  • complying with governmental regulations.

Management, supervisory, and employee commitment to hearing conservation and positive attitude are important aspects of the overall hearing conservation program. The key elements of the organization's hearing conservation program are:

1. Noise exposure measurements,
2. Engineering and administrative noise exposure control,
3. Personal hearing protection,
4. Audiometric testing and follow-up, and
5. Education.


The success of the company's hearing conservation program depends on an accurate knowledge of the existing noise environment. Accurate surveys define areas within acceptable guidelines for noise exposure and those areas where potentially harmful noise exposure exists. Effective noise exposure measurement prevents possible loss of hearing by detecting work areas where employees must wear hearing protectors and must be tested. Therefore, the company conducts detailed noise surveys using sound level meters that meet the appropriate ANSI standard and are calibrated acoustically before and after each survey. The initial area survey was performed using measurement techniques prescribed in the OSHA regulations. Measurements are made at employees' normal working positions. This procedure allows an accurate estimation of the employees' daily exposure except in instances where an employee is required to move from one working location to another in his/her daily routine, or when an employee's instantaneous noise exposure levels vary markedly during the shift because of machine cycling. In these cases, noise dosimetry is performed. Follow-up measurements are made whenever changes in work practices or methods may change workplace noise exposures. The results of all measurements are recorded, and employees are notified of their exposure level.

Noise exposure measurements have been completed and are available for review.


__________________________________ recognizes the need for a strong educational program. Therefore, _________________________________ properly educates its noise-exposed employees. At least annually, all new employees and those with a time-weighted average exposure level of 85 dBA and above are reminded of the need for an effective hearing conservation program. The educational program consists of an initial presentation by company personnel concerning the need for an effective hearing conservation program. During this program an explanation of company policy relative to the requirements of wearing hearing protective devices is given. All employees are encouraged to ask questions concerning the program. Topics covered include the effects of noise on hearing, the purpose of hearing protectors, the advantages, disadvantages, and attenuation of various types, and instructions on the selection, fitting, use, and care of protectors. The purpose and procedures of audiometric testing are also discussed.

___________________________________ recognizes the need for continuing education in the implementation of any safety program and, therefore, will regularly remind employees of the necessity for preserving their hearing. This is achieved by posting educational materials at appropriate locations. All areas where hearing protection is required are posted with appropriate signs in order to alert employees to the need for wearing protective devices.

Employees not exposed to noise levels exceeding the accepted guidelines are encouraged to participate whenever possible in the educational programs provided.

___________________________ recognizes the fact that a loss of one's ability to hear can occur from many causes other than industrial noise exposure, and that for this reason all employees benefit from the educational programs described above. Since the hearing conservation program described in this plan protects employees' hearing from potentially-harmful environments and could possibly alert them to potentially-harmful physical disorders, the program is considered an additional benefit program for employees.

The Educational Phase begins when employees are hired and continues annually thereafter.



Until such time as engineering and/or administrative controls reduce the amount of noise exposure to or below the allowed limits, appropriate personal hearing protective devices are made available and issued to noise-exposed employees. It is recognized that the use of these devices is considered a temporary solution to the problem of overexposure until feasible controls are provided.

As with all safety equipment, the wearing of hearing protection in required areas is mandatory. All supervisors properly enforce hearing protection requirements. Continuing failure of an employee to properly wear the protection provided could result in the termination of employment with the company.

The individual responsible for issuing and fitting hearing protection has been trained by and is under the supervision of an audiologist or physician.

Fitting and issuing of hearing protective devices begins when employees are hired.


The objective of the hearing conservation program developed by ___________________ is the preservation of the hearing of its employees. In order to achieve this goal, an effective audiometric testing program has been implemented. This program includes audiograms at time of hire, an initial survey of the existing work force whose exposures equal or exceed a TWA of 85 dBA in order to establish baselines, and termination audiograms when possible. All employees exposed to levels equal to or exceeding a TWA of 85 dBA receive an annual audiometric test.

The success of the hearing conservation program with regard to each individual employee is evaluated by comparing annual audiograms to the baseline audiogram. Audiogram review is performed by an audiologist or physician, and recommendations regarding the audiometric results are followed. This procedure, among others, helps to determine the effectiveness of the hearing protection program, and, as a result, ensures the protection of employees' hearing.

Initial testing of current employees has been completed, and testing of new employees is conducted when they are hired. Annual testing is conducted when they are hired. Annual testing is conducted for all employees whose 8-hour TWA exposure level is 85 dBA or higher.


____________________________ recognizes the desirability of controlling the existing noise levels by engineering and/or administrative controls. Therefore the feasibility of such controls is carefully considered. Due to the complexity of some machinery used by the company and in view of economic limitations, some noise levels cannot currently be reduced to below acceptable limits. In those cases, suppliers of machinery purchased which produces noise levels exceeding the accepted guidelines have been notified of the high noise levels directly by the company or indirectly through the appropriate association(s) of which this company is a member. The supplier has been requested to redesign machinery where possible to meet the defined regulations. As an interim solution, the company has considered possible redesign of existing machinery, the building of partial or total enclosures, and other engineering noise control procedures for reducing the existing noise levels, where such procedures are deemed technologically and economically feasible.

Within the limitation of work schedules and employee skills and training background, administrative controls have been considered. Where feasible, over-exposed employees are moved to other areas having noise levels below the required levels. In addition, operational procedures are modified as necessary so that during any one twenty-four hour period the allowed exposure times will not be exceeded.

Engineering and administrative controls are being considered and implemented where feasible on a continuing basis.


As indicated by the program described above, it is the full intent of _________________ to protect and preserve the hearing of its employees. This company routinely reviews the program developed and outlined in this compliance plan and attempts within the company's financial and technical capability to improve the program where feasible.

If and when the work area noise levels are reduced below the accepted guidelines, the company reserves the right to terminate any or all of the phases of the program described herein.

Since the company is also interested in maintaining and improving the human resources of the surrounding community, it makes available as speakers, when practical, company employees trained in the various phases of an effective hearing conservation program to schools, civic clubs, and other public organizations.

_________________________ _________

(Ranking Company Official)

_________________________ _________




Original articles © WorkCare™; Orange, California.