Nobody should have to sacrifice their well-being or long-term health for their job. It is the responsibility of employers to implement and enforce occupational hearing testing designed to protect their employees. Unwanted noise is one of the most pervasive occupational health issues workers deal with, and when employers fail to administer a proper hearing conservation program, employees face the very real consequences of developing noise-induced hearing loss. Hearing loss is a disability we often forget to consider but can ultimately have a negative effect on overall quality of life.
What Is Audiometric Testing
OSHA-approved audiometric testing program is an important component of an occupational hearing conservation program. It is the process of tracking and managing a worker’s hearing health over time. The program starts with the production of a baseline audiogram, followed by annual hearing testing, protection training, and follow-up procedures. The baseline test is just that – a starting point from which all other annual hearing tests are compared. Once a baseline has been established, it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that each year the employee has a hearing test and that if there has been any shift as compared to the baseline audiogram, the employee is immediately sent for follow-up treatment. Tracking and managing these shifts is a critically important component of the program.
For decades, companies had two choices for performing annual workplace hearing testing. They could either bring in a mobile hearing testing services company who would administer the tests in a small, enclosed audiometric sound booth, or they could send staff out to see a licensed professional. Both of these options are time-consuming, expensive and not overly convenient for the employees. But it was the only way to ensure OSHA-compliant standards were being met. That is, until now.
Occupational Hearing Testing: Healthcare Meets Technology
The healthcare industry has traditionally been slow to adopt new technology, but Apple’s iPad is a device that has been embraced for its portability, long battery life, and general ease of use. Many disciplines have found ways to adapt its technology, and in 2014 the first clinically validated and commercially available audiometer based on the iPad — SHOEBOX Audiometry — was officially released to the market.
Introducing SHOEBOX Audiometry
SHOEBOX is compact and ultra-lightweight, making it incredibly useful for audiometric testing in occupational hearing testing programs. Because the system has been clinically validated to produce accurate results, even when testing is performed outside of a sound booth, it makes moving heavy audiology testing equipment in fleets of trucks across the country almost a thing of the past.
SHOEBOX Audiometry is a Class II medical device and is the first portable, automated, ANSI-compliant iPad audiometer validated to produce accurate results even when testing is performed outside of the sound booth. With just an iPad, software, and calibrated headphones, SHOEBOX is a faster, more cost-effective way for employers to meet their OSHA-mandated standards. It can be used to conduct both baseline audiograms and for annual testing. The automated game-play interface means that almost anyone can administer the hearing test. The system also includes a comprehensive data management system making it entirely possible to back up and store all employee data and audiograms in a secure storage environment. What truly sets SHOEBOX apart is the ability for the data management system to automate the process of comparing employee baseline tests against annual audiograms to identify and report on any change. Whether you are looking to bring audiometric testing programs in-house or if you provide hearing testing as a service to your clients, SHOEBOX Audiometry is an easy-to-use, interactive, automated solution that is revolutionizing the hearing conservation industry.
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Gina brings almost 25 years of technology marketing experience to her position with SHOEBOX. She joins the company from IBM where she led worldwide digital marketing strategy for the Security Division. Prior to IBM, she was Director of Marketing for Watchfire (acquired by IBM) where she led demand generation and communications strategy.