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Hearing Conservation Articles

The Crisis in Occupational Hearing Conservation in America
By George Cook, Au.D., CCC-A

Occupational hearing conservation programs in America were healthier in 2002. Recent changes in OSHA regulations and OSHA enforcement policies have resulted in a significant decrease in hearing conservation activities in America. Hundreds of thousands of employees who were in a hearing conservation program in the past are being excluded today. Companies are fearful of increased incidence rates and look for every avenue to reduce possible Standard Threshold Shift recordables.  


Ototoxic Drugs, Chemicals, and Heavy Metals in the Workplace
By George Cook, Au.D., CCC-A

An estimated 15,000 to 160,000 drugs, chemicals and/or heavy metals may be toxic to the senses. Ototoxic substances are estimated to be between 5,200 and 56,000 agents. Possibly 75% of the ototoxic drugs have a low occurrence ototoxic effect of 1 or 2 per 1,000. Another 22% have a moderate ototoxic effect and that approximately 3% have a high occurrence of 20% (200 per 1,000).  


Multiple Sclerosis and Hearing Loss
By George Cook, Au.D., CCC-A

This article was generated by a recent request for information concerning Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and its relation to hearing loss. As you will read in the article, hearing loss and balance problems can result from MS and, although rare, can be an initial symptom of MS.


Evaluating the Quality of Hearing Conservation from Hearing Test Results
By George Cook, Au.D., CCC-A

What information may be gleaned from employee hearing tests that would indicate the quality of a hearing conservation program? It is important to separate successful hearing conservation from recording hearing loss on the OSHA 300 Log. Find out how...


An Overview of the Occupational Hearing Conservation Programs: The Audiologist’s Role, Audiologic/Medical Referrals, and Expectations Concerning Referrals
By George Cook, Au.D., CCC-A

Employees from occupational hearing conservation programs often do not get the expected and needed type of evaluation, diagnosis or treatment from the clinical audiologist or physician. Often there is a misunderstanding about how an occupational hearing conservation program works, what an occupational audiologist does as well as what the management, employee and occupational audiologist expect from the clinical audiologist and physician.


Assessment Tools: Introduction and Practical Use of Tympanometry Measurements in a Hearing Conservation Program
By Sarah Ervin, M.A., CCC-A

This article is a brief description of the anatomy and physiology that is measured during tympanometry testing, the importance of incorporating tympanometry measurements in a hearing conservation program, and how tympanograms are measured.


Assessment Tools: Introduction to the Anatomy and Physiology of the Auditory System
By Sarah Ervin, M.A., CCC-A

This article provides a general understanding of the structures within the auditory system and how they function. The auditory system is comprised of three components: the outer, middle, and inner ear, all of which work together to transfer sounds from the environment to the brain.


Case Study II: Diet, Noise, and Hearing Loss
By George Cook, Au.D., CCC-A

The condition of the cardiovascular system can greatly affect hearing loss and can contribute to predisposing the ear synergistically to noise exposure. Conditions such as hypertension, mild-to-moderately high cholesterol levels, and high triglyceride levels are conditions that can to some extent be affected by diet. Foods high in antioxidants and low in saturated fats are known to be significantly friendly to the cardiovascular system. In addition, significant amounts of antioxidants as provided in the food supplement N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is proving to be important in the prevention/treatment of noise-induced hearing loss. Read more about the studies that support this.


Case Study I: Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss
By George Cook, Au.D., CCC-A

SSHL is an abrupt sensorineural hearing loss of 30 dB HL or greater over at least three audiometric frequencies occurring within 72 hours or less. Approximately 4,000 cases of SSHL are diagnosed each year. That’s 1 in 5,000 with the highest incidence in adults between the ages of 50 and 60 years old and 75% over the age of 40. Read more about the causes, treatments, and prognosis for this condition.


Assessment Tools: Introduction and Practical Use of Otoacoustic Emissions in Hearing Conservation Programs
By Sarah Ervin, M.A., CCC-A

Within the past 25 years there has been an explosion of technology in the field of Audiology. One of the most important advances in this technology and knowledge about the functioning of the human ear has been through the identification of Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE). Read more...


An Explanation of Recording Hearing Loss on the OSHA 300 Log
By George Cook, Au.D., CCC-A

In January 2001, OSHA published rules on recording and reporting occupational injuries and illnesses and made the effective date January 1, 2002. They delayed the recording criteria for cases involving occupational hearing loss and musculosketal disorders until January 1, 2003, and asked for comments. On July 1, 2002, OSHA published the finalized criteria for recording hearing loss.


Recording Hearing Loss on the OSHA 300 Log
PowerPoint presentation in PDF format
By George Cook, Au.D., CCC-A


Managing Occupational Hearing Conservation Program Data
By George Cook, Au.D., CCC-A

Computers and hearing conservation software are absolutely necessary in managing an occupational hearing conservation program in both large and small plants. Companies simply could not keep up with the testing, notification, record keeping and professional review requirements without the efficiencies of the computer.


A Discussion of MSHA in View of OSHA
By George Cook, Au.D., CCC-A

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) under the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 has established a new Occupational Noise Exposure Standard. While this standard is similar to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Occupational Noise Exposure Standard (1971) there are significant differences. This outline, with comments, is an interpretation of the MSHA standard when comparing it to the more familiar OSHA standard.


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