Hearing Conservation Program

Why do I need hearing protection?

The UMass Amherst Hearing Conservation Program has been established to meet the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) which exceeds standards and ensures compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 29 CFR Part 1910.95. The primary objective is to provide for the protection of University employees from long term hearing loss associated with noise levels in the workplace.

Almost all work-related hearing loss is permanent, and it can have a profound impact on quality of life. Noise-induced hearing loss is 100% preventable.

All members of the University community who are regularly exposed to occupational noise levels at or exceeding an 8-hour time-weighted average of 85 dBA must enroll in the Hearing Conservation Program (HCP).


Hearing Conservation Program Process Flow

Step 1: Workplace Evaluation for Noise Exposure

The first step is to conduct a workplace noise exposure assessment to determine whether the noise level exceeds, or is likely to exceed, the noise exposure limit.

Step 2: Training

HCP training is provided through SciShield. All employees enrolled in Hearing Conservation Program must complete this training (including voiceover slides and a quiz) every year.

Step 3: Hearing Protection Devices Selection

The HCPA will work with you to find the right hearing protection devices, based on employee comfort, level of noise exposure, Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of device, type of work being performed, and environmental conditions. Multiple devices may be required based on the noise level.

Step 4: Audiometric Testing

Audiometric testing can identify occupational hearing loss and identify Standard Threshold Shifts (STS). The baseline audiogram is the reference audiogram against which future audiograms are compared. Annual audiograms are required each year after baseline audiogram.

Please contact your supervisor to schedule a baseline/annual audiometric testing. Audiometric testing is conducted by Center for Language, Speech, and Hearing Services of Department of Communication Disorders.

Please see our video for an overview of the program, hazards that can lead to hearing loss, and what you can do to prevent it.


What are the regulations, policies, and recommendations?

Occupational Noise Exposure. -1910.95
Occupational Noise Exposure Revised Criteria 1998 - NIOSH
UMass Amherst Hearing Conservation Program SOP
Hearing Conservation Program FAQs
Noise-Cancelling Devices Vs. Hearing Protection Fact Sheet
Ototoxicants Fact Sheet
Noise in the Lab Fact Sheet
Hearing Protection for Musicians Fact Sheet