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Hearing Conservation Manual, Fourth Edition

Hearing Conservation Manual, Fourth Edition

RATING: (4 of 5 ears)
AUTHOR: Alice Suter; Elliott Berger, editor
PUBLISHER: Council for Accreditation in Occupational Hearing Conservation
ISBN: 0-9723143-0-X
COST: US$55.00

REVIEWER: Thomas Thunder, AuD, FAAA, Bd. Cert. INCE, Acoustic Associates, Ltd., Rush University, Chicago, Illinois

SYNOPSIS: The Council for Accreditation in Occupational Hearing Conservation (CAOHC) has been a leader in providing standards for occupational hearing conservation programs since the first edition of its hearing conservation manual in 1978. Its new fourth edition, written by Alice Suter and edited by Elliott Berger, is a complete rewrite of its third edition published in 1993 and contains significant updates and revisions. This includes the new Mine Safety and Health Administration's (MSHA) noise exposure regulations and the new National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) criteria for hearing loss prevention. This book will typically serve as the text for the three-day certification courses offered by audiologists around the country. However, it will also serve well those audiologists who need to supervise audiometric monitoring or hearing conservation services.

REVIEW: Hearing conservation is a multidisciplinary effort. This is reflected by the fact that with the recent addition of the AAA, CAOHC now consists of nine component associations. In keeping with this philosophy, the first chapter kicks off a discussion of the mission and role of the occupational hearing conservationist (OHC) and outlines the growth of CAOHC. Chapters 2, 3, 4, and 5 present an overview of the effects of noise, anatomy and physiology of the ear, hearing disorders, and the physics of sound, respectively—topics that ought to be familiar to audiologists. Less familiar, however, is the subject of Chapter 6 that traces the history of hearing conservation standards and regulations in the U.S. including the 1971 OSHA noise exposure regulation and its 1983 hearing conservation amendment. This chapter also presents the new MSHA regulations on noise exposure and summarizes (in table form) the new hearing loss prevention recommendations outlined by NIOSH in its 1998 criteria document.

Chapter 7 reviews the purpose and approach in audiometric monitoring programs for workers exposed to noise, with a special emphasis on meeting the OSHA regulations. One of the roles of the OHC is to assess the basic validity of audiograms and to conduct a preliminary review of these audiograms. The intent of Chapter 8 is to acquaint the OHC with a variety of audiogram types and to provide a basis for identifying "problem" audiograms.

Chapter 9 provides the foundation for how area and personal noise surveys are conducted to assess noise exposure and how engineering controls are implemented to abate the exposure. Hearing protection devices are a major component of any effective hearing conservation program. In Chapter 10, you will find a complete review of the different types of HPDs and the pros and cons of each. An important, but often omitted, component of hearing conservation is training and motivation. Chapter 11 discusses the importance of this component and offers very useful tips to engage the participation of employees in their own preventative efforts. The job of hearing conservation is not done until the paperwork is completed. And so in Chapter 12, the final chapter, there is a comprehensive discussion of recordkeeping and how to evaluate the success of a hearing conservation program.

CRITIQUE: CAOHC has been in the business of promoting occupational hearing conservation for over three decades with roots extending another decade. Written primarily for OHCs (which includes mostly nurses and medical technicians), this book is an excellent text for any audiologist teaching hearing conservation to non-audiologists. But it is also an excellent primer for the audiologist who is going into the business of occupational hearing loss. While much of the material presented in the book should be a review for audiologists, there is much that is new. Even compared to the third edition, the current edition includes the new MSHA regulations, the new NIOSH criteria, and the National Hearing Conservation Association professional guidelines. In addition, the appendices include contain three ANSI standards—worth over $250, useful tables, forms, checklists, and references to valuable websites and other useful documents—all of which make this book an important part of the library of any audiologist working with companies on hearing conservation efforts.