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CrowdChat: Audiometric Testing Challenges and Problems Facing HSE Professionals

Audiometry, CrowdChat, Hearing Conservation

The following is a summary of our December 10th, 2020 CrowdChat.

Thank you for joining us today as we chat with our industry experts about audiometric testing challenges and problems HSE professionals may see.

Hearing testing is not my top priority right now. Should I be concerned about delays in my hearing testing program?

Phillip Williams, CSP
As always, the first priority is to ensure that your facility has taken all necessary precautions to minimize the transmission of Coronavirus.

We understand that this is an unprecedented and challenging time for HSE Professionals managing the current pandemic, along with keeping up with all required compliance obligations for your facility.

OSHA may be lenient for 2020 and into 2021, but a good place to start is your companies’ internal guidance around compliance and COVID-19.

If your company requires that you conduct audiometric testing in 2020 and early 2021, there are boothless options available that allow for physical distancing and minimize the risk of Coronavirus transmission.

OSHA has said they will relax the fines this year if using mobile vans, but I want to test anyway – what do you recommend?

Phillip Williams, CSP
Even though OSHA may relax fines this year and early next for hearing testing compliance, my first thought is: has your company provided you with any internal guidance around your facility’s compliance activities during COVID-19?

If not, suggest that you ask your company HSE leadership for guidance. If they have provided guidance, follow that.

If you still want to conduct audiometric testing to minimize the risk of an OSHA citation, I’d recommend that you look at some of the boothless audiometric testing options available that allow for physical distancing, thus minimizing the risk of Coronavirus transmission.

How can I test while minimizing risk for my employees?

Many things can be done to address infection control during hearing testing. Aspects that should be considered include human contact, surface contact, and air quality of the testing environment.

We recommend that you adhere to your organization’s infection control policies for surface cleaning and human contact. Note that alcohol should not be used as a cleaning agent on headphones as it is too damaging. An alternative such as hydrogen peroxide should be used.

The National Hearing Conservation Association (NHCA) published the following best practice guidelines for hearing testing during the COVID-19 Pandemic. https://www.hearingconservation.org/assets/NHCA%20COVID-19%20Guidelines%20v1.0.pdf.

Does SHOEBOX have infection control specific recommendations for testing with an iPad-based audiometer?

SHOEBOX Audiometry
Thanks for the question. Yes, we do. We’ve put together a document entitled Infection Control Practices for Hearing Testing to provide more information on this topic.

I really like my current service provider, but I’m nervous about the truck. Could they use SHOEBOX instead?

Kate Mosley
ABSOLUTELY! SHOEBOX is currently partnered with over one hundred service providers across the USA. You can direct your current service provider to the SHOEBOX website for more information.

What if everything shuts down again due to the pandemic? How will that affect SHOEBOX and its offerings? Is SHOEBOX shutting down too?

Kate Mosley
As the makers of a medical device, we are able to continue operating so you can continue running your program in a safe, effective and compliant way. The majority of our staff have been and will continue to work from home.

If things shut down, you can choose to purchase a SHOEBOX and do the testing yourself outside of a booth with easy sterilization while managing physical distancing protocols. You can choose to be both COVID-friendly and get back to compliance at the same time.

We want to help you – whether you choose to bring testing in house or if you are a service provider who’s finding your business is being challenged because your customers don’t want to use your truck

You can leave the truck at home and bring a SHOEBOX unit on-site to do testing that way.

What do you think about a solution where the customer can do the hearing test at home? So, they don’t need to visit a clinic?

SHOEBOX Audiometry
Hello, nice to e-meet you. SHOEBOX can be used for tele-audiology. Review our Tele-Audiology and Low Touch/ No Touch Hearing Healthcare Solutions page for more information, including a data sheet on the subject.

If you are interested in learning more, please reach out to info@shoebox.md.