UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII AT MANOA
Environmental Health and Safety Office
TABLE OF CONTENTS
2.0 PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION
3.0 GENERAL REQUIREMENTS
5.0 AUDIOMETRIC TESTING PROGRAM
6.0 AUDIOMETRIC EXAMINATION EVALUATION
7.0 HEARING PROTECTORS
A PERMISSIBLE NOISE EXPOSURES
B AUDIOMETRIC TEST ROOM LEVELS
C TYPES OF HEARING PROTECTORS
D DISTRIBUTORS OF HEARING PROTECTORS
The University of Hawaii is committed to providing a safe
and healthful environment for all employees. Consistent
with this committment, we have developed a Hearing Conser-
This program is designed to provide the maximum protection
for all employees who may be exposed to high noise levels
as well as to ensure compliance with the State of Hawaii,
Occupational Safety and Health Standards.
In addition, guidelines are provided for the selection, use
and purchase of hearing protectors that will adequately
protect all employees who may be exposed to high noise
This written program is available for review by any inte-
rested employee or representative of any employee. Any
questions about this program should be addressed to the
EHSO. This program is monitored and audited by the EHSO
to ensure that the policies are carried out and that the
program is effective.
2.0 Progam Administration
Each supervisor shall be responsible for implementing the
provisions of this program. All training requirements under
this program shall be provided at no cost to the employee.
The Industrial Hygienist from the UHM Environmental Health
and Safety Office shall assist the departments with the
implementation and maintenence of the Hearing Conservation
3.0 General Requirements
When employees are exposed to sound levels exceeding those
in Appendix A, administrative or engineering controls shall
be utilized. If administrative or engineering controls are
not available, personal protective equipment shall be used
to reduce the sound levels to that in Appendix A or lower.
Exposure to impact or impulse noise shall not exceed 140 dBA
peak sound pressure level. If the variations in peak of
sound pressure levels are one second or less, the noise is
to be considered continuous.
All employees whose noise exposure equals or exceed an 8-
hour time weighted average (TWA) of 85 dBA slow response,
shall be included in this program and are subject to all
elements in Sections 4.0 through 9.0. This level shall be
computed without regard to attenuation factors provided by
the use of personal protective equipment.
A monitoring strategy shall be developed to identify those
workareas with a sound pressure level of 85 dBA slow res-
ponse or greater. This monitor strategy shall be designed
to identify all employees to be covered by this program and
to enable them to select the proper hearing protectors.
Monitoring shall be conducted whenever a change in produc-
tion, process, equipment, or controls may cause an increase
in sound pressure levels so that the additional employees
are effected or the attenuation provided by the hearing
protection may become ineffective.
After the completion of monitoring, all employees exposed to
a time weighted average of 85 dBA or greater shall be noti-
fied of the results.
Affected employees or their representatives will be allowed
to observe all noise measurements taken for compliance with
All instruments used to measure sound levels and employee
noise exposure shall be calibrated to ensure accuracy with
a tolerance of no more than +/- 2 dB.
5.0 Audiometric Testing Program
An audiometric examination shall be provided to employees
whose noise exposure equals a time weighted average of 85
dBA or greater at no cost to the employee. The audiometric
test shall be conducted by a licensed or certified audio-
logist, otolaryngologist, or another physician, or by a
technician who is certified by the Council of Accreditation
in Occupational Hearing Conservation (CAOHC).
Within 6 months of an employee's first exposure to sound
levels of 85 dBA slow response or greater, a baseline audio-
gram shall be taken against which subsequent audiograms may
Baseline audiograms must be preceded by 14 hours without
exposure to workplace noise. Hearing protectors may be used
as a substitute for the requirement that baseline audiograms
be preceded by 14 hours without exposure to workplace noise.
The employee shall endeavor to avoid high levels of non-
occupational noise 14 hours before the audiometric examina-
Where baseline audiograms are given more than 6 months after
an employee's initial exposure, the employee shall wear
hearing protectors until the baseline audiogram is obtained.
After a baseline audiogram has been taken, each employee
exposed to noise at the 85 dBA time weighted average level
or above shall have an annual examination.
6.0 Audiometric Examination Evaluation
Each employee's audiogram shall be compared with their
baseline audiogram to determine if the audiogram is valid
and if a standard threshold shift has occurred.
A standard threshold shift is defined as a change in the
hearing threshold of an average of 10 decibels or more at
2000, 3000 and 4000 hertz in either ear when compared to
the original audiogram.
If a standard threshold shift has occurred, the employee
may be retested within 30 days and the results of the retest
may be considered the annual audiogram.
A physician, audiologist, or otolaryngologist shall review
the problem audiograms and determine if there is a need for
The employee shall be notified in writing within 21 days of
the determination of a standard threshold shift.
Unless a physician determines that the standard threshold
shift is not work related or aggravated by occupational
noise exposure, the following steps will be taken upon dis-
covering a standard threshold shift:
A. employees not using hearing protectors shall be
fitted with hearing protectors, trained in their
use, and required to use them;
B. those employees already using hearing protectors
shall be refitted with protectors offering greater
attenuation if necessary and retained in their use;
C. the employee shall be referred for a clinical
examination or evaluation if the use of hearing
protectors causes or aggravates a medical pathology
of the ear; and
D. the employee shall be informed of the need for an
otological examination if the medical pathology of
the ear is unrelated to the use of hearing protec-
The employee shall be informed if subsequent audiometric
testing indicates that the standard threshold shift is not
persistent. If the employee works in areas subject to a
time weighted average of less than 90 decibels, the re-
quired use of hearing protectors may be discontinued.
An annual audiogram shall be substituted for the baseline
audiogram when the standard threshold shift is determined
to be persistent by the audiologist, otolaryngologist, or
An annual audiogram shall also be substituted for the base-
line audiogram when it shows significant improvement over
7.0 Hearing Protectors
Hearing protectors shall be made available and shall be
worn by all employees exposed to an 8-hour time weighted
average of 85 dBA or greater. This includes those employees
who have experiences a standard threshold shift and those
who have not yet had a baseline audiogram.
Each employee required to use hearing protectors shall
select the protector from a variety of hearing protectors
provided and shall be properly fitted.
The protector selected must provide attenuation to at least
an 8-hour time weighted average of 90 dBA.
For those employees who have experienced a standard thres-
hold shift, the attenuation shall be at least an 8-hour
time weighted average of 85 dBA or below.
All employees exposed to noise at a time weighted average
of 85 dBA or greater shall participate in a hearing conser-
vation training program that shall include:
A. the effects of noise upon hearing
B. the fitting, use, care, and purpose of hearing
C. the purpose of audiometric testing and an explana-
tion of the test procedures
This training program shall be repeated annually for all
employees included in the Hearing Conservation Program.
Each supervisor shall maintain an accurate record of all
employee exposure measurements required by section 4.0.
A. Audiometric Tests
The employer shall retain all employee audiometric
test records. This record shall include:
- Name and job classification of the employee;
- Date of the audiogram;
- The examiner's name;
- Date of the last acoustic or exhaustive
calibration of the audiometer; and
- Employee's most recent noise exposure assessment
B. Each supervisor shall retain accurate records of
the measurements of the background sound pressure
levels in audiometric test rooms.
C. Each supervisor shall retain records required in
this section for at least the following periods.
- Noise exposure measurement records shall be
retained for 2 years.
- Audiometric test records shall be retained for
the duration of the affected employee's employ-
D. All records required in this section shall be
available upon request to employees, former
employees, representatives designated by the
individual employee, and representatives of the
Hawaii Division of Occupational Safety and Health.
E. Each supervisor shall transfer to his successor all
records required to be maintained by this section,
and the successor shall retain them for the remain-
der of the period prescribed in (D) above.
PERMISSIBLE NOISE EXPOSURES*
Duration Sound Level
Per Day dBA Slow
0.25 (or less) .....................115
*When the daily noise exposure is composed of 2 or more periods
of noise exposure of different levels, their combined effect
shall be considered, rather than the individual effect of each.
If the sum of these fractions: C/T + C/T + ... C/T exceeds
unity, then the mixed exposure shall be considered to exceed the
"C" indicates the total time of exposure at a specified noise
level, and "T" indicates the total time of exposure permitted
at that level.
Exposure to impulsive or impact noise shall not exceed 140 dB
peak sound pressure level.
Maximum Allowable Octave Band Sound Pressure Levels For
Audiometric Test Rooms*
Octave Band Center
Frequency (Hz) .... 500 1000 2000 4000 8000
Level (dB) ........ 40 40 47 57 62
*Rooms used for audiometric testing shall not have back-
ground sound pressure levels exceeding those above when
measured by equipment conforming at least to the type 2
requirements of ANSI S1.4 and to the Class II requirements
of ANSI S1.11.
TYPES OF HEARING PROTECTORS
Ear muffs come in many styles. Most are attached to spring-loaded
headbands, while others are attached directly to safety headgear.
Specialized muffs are also available for persons who work in high
voltage exposures, or who need to filter out hazardous noises
while retaining acute hearing for normal sound ranges. Muffs
cover the entire ear and can reduce noise by as much as 15-30
decibels. (Muffs are often used in conjunction with ear plugs
when a worker is exposed to extremely high noise levels - 105
decibels and above.)
Like muffs, ear plugs come in many varieties-formable, custom
molded, pre-molded, disposable, reusable-and may be made of
different types of materials such as acoustical fiber, silicone,
rubber, or plastic. Ear plugs are positioned in the outer part
and may reduce noise by as much as 30 decibels.
These hearing prtoectors cap off or close the ear canal at its
opening. Like many muffs, canal caps are connected to a flexible
headband that ensures a close fit. Canal caps are most commonly
used when an individual is unable to use traditional ear plugs.
DISTRIBUTORS OF HEARING PROTECTORS
2305 Kamehameha Hwy.
P.O. Box 30707
Honolulu, Hawaii 96820
SAFETY SYSTEMS HAWAII, INC.
302 Mokauea Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96819