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This topic covers OSHA’s regulations for noise exposure and hearing protection, including hearing conservation programs and PPE requirements.

OSHA requires that exposure to hazardous noise be reduced or eliminated through engineering and administrative controls. If engineering controls are not feasible or sufficient, employers must provide personal protective equipment (PPE). When noise exposures equal or exceed an 8-hour time-weighted average of 85 dB, a hearing conservation program must be implemented. Hearing conservation programs require noise monitoring, audiometric testing and recordkeeping, baseline and annual audiograms, personal hearing protection, and training. OSHA considers work-related hearing loss to be a recordable injury.

For related resources and training materials, refer to the following topics:

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Training Tips "Can You Hear Me Now?!"  National
Employee News Articles 'Hear Ye, Hear Ye'  National
Directives 06/23/2008 - [PER 04-00-004] - Hearing Conservation Program 06/23/2008National
Directives 12/12/1981 - STP 2.21 - Occupational Noise Exposure; Hearing Conservation Amendment, 29 CFR 1910.95 07/16/2003National
Directives 12/19/1983 - CPL 2-2.35A - 29 CFR 1910.95(b)(1), Guidelines for Noise Enforcement; Appendix A 07/18/2003National
Final Rules 14 CFR 150 - Burlington International Airport, South Burlington VT; Approval of Noise Compatibility Program 10/30/2020National
Questions & Answers 1910.95 Noise Exposure: Our 8 hour test shows our FT operator was exposed to 85.6 db. The employee's normal shift is 12 hrs, does this reduce the requirements to 82 db and send us in to a full hearing conservation program? 02/22/2008National
Regulations 29 CFR § 1910.95 Occupational noise exposure  National
Final Rules 29 CFR 1910 - CFR Correction 06/01/2022National
Questions & Answers A company tests our employees on a mobile van each year. We have been following the 6 month guideline on baselines through a local clinic. Can we eliminate that step and have all employees get their baselines established on our yearly audiogram? 04/27/2020National
Interpretations Acceptability of Task-Based Noise Exposure Assessment Modeling (T-BEAM). 02/01/2001National
Interpretations Administering the baseline audiogram either before or after an employee's first exposure. [1910.95; 1910.95(g)(5)(i)] 03/07/2007National
Questions & Answers An employee crosses a manufacturing shop floor where hearing protection is required to get to their office where they stay until the end of the day. Does that employee have to be in the company's Hearing Conservation Program? 10/24/2018National
Interpretations Application of the Occupational Noise standard to employees who are deaf or have a diminished capacity to hear.[1910.95; 1910.95(b)(1); 1910.95(i)(2)] 08/03/2004National
Interpretations Audiometric baseline revisions in employee rehire situations.[1910.95] 02/08/2005National
Interpretations Baseline audiogram revision due to persistent STS or improved thresholds; revision must be made for each ear separately.[1910.95; 1910.95(g)(1); 1910.95(g)(5); 1910.95(g)(7); 1910.95(g)(9); 1910.95(g)(10); 1904; 1904.10] 10/28/2003National
Interpretations Clarification of 1910.95 and 1904 regarding physicians and audiologists roles in determining work-relatedness of worker hearing loss. 08/29/2007National
Interpretations Clarification on revising a baseline audiogram if a standard threshold shift occurs in only one ear. [1910.95; 1910.95(g)(9)] 02/10/2006National
Interpretations Differentiation between the 80 dBA threshold for hearing conservation and the 90 dBA PEL.[1910.95] 09/26/2001National
Questions & Answers Do you have any ear bud safety policies or related information? 12/19/2019National
Employee News Articles Do You Hear What I Hear?  National
Questions & Answers Does OSHA have an opinion concerning the use of personal music devises such as CD players, radios, or iPods in the workplace? 06/18/2009National
Interpretations Ear muffs and ear plugs are not both required if one offers protection.[1910.95(i)(3)] 09/30/1983National
Interpretations Effective hearing conservation program elements for the Construction Industry. [1926.52] 08/04/1992National
Training Tips Employee Ear Education  National
Interpretations Employees with occasional exposure to noise levels in excess of 85 dBA TWA must be included in the company's hearing conservation program.[1910.95] 02/13/2004National
Interpretations Frequency of evaluating audiometric testing rooms to meet the specifications in Appendix D of the Occupational Noise standard.[1910.95(h)(4); 1910.95_AppD] 02/14/2005National
Questions & Answers Has OSHA regulated the use of noise-cancelling headphones in the biotech industry? Could they be used in office areas but not in laboratory/production/dangerous areas? 01/29/2019National
Employee News Articles Hearing at Home  National
Guidance Documents Hearing Conservation  National
Policies Hearing Conservation  National
Guidance Documents Hearing Conservation for the Hearing-Impaired Worker  National
Plans Hearing Conservation Plan  National
Employee News Articles Hearing conservation program  National
Forms Hearing Conservation Program Training Record  National
Interpretations Hearing conservation standard questions. [1910.95] 05/09/1994National
Interpretations Hearing conservation: referrals, financial responsibility, and documentation. 06/02/1998National
7 Minute Safety Trainer Hearing Protection (Outline)  National
Handouts Hearing Protection (Word)  National
Quizzes Hearing Protection (Word)  National
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