Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1910.95(g)(7)(ii)

June 18, 1985

Mr. Lawrence A. Vassallo
Data Processing Manager
Director of Training
Hearing Conservation Noise Control, Inc.
1721 Pine Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103

Dear Mr. Vassallo:

This is in response to your letter of March 7 concerning audiograms conducted in accordance with the hearing conservation amendment, 29 CFR 1910.95 (c)-(p). We wish to inform you that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) resumed enforcement of the hearing conservation amendment on April 15, 1985.

Provision 29 CFR 1910.95(g)(7)(ii) allows but does not require an audiometric retest within 30 days in the event that the annual audiogram shows that an employee has suffered a standard threshold shift. An employer wishing to retest under these conditions may consider the retest audiogram as the annual audiogram. Therefore, if a valid retest audiogram does not show that the employee has suffered a standard threshold shift, no follow-up procedures need be implemented. This provision permits employers and the audiologists, otolaryngologists, or physicians who direct their audiometric testing programs to decide, on a case-by-case basis, whether a retest audiogram is necessary or desirable.

You related that occasionally an annual audiogram will show that an employee has suffered a standard threshold shift in only one ear, but that when a retest is done, the second audiogram will show a standard threshold shift in the second ear, as well as confirm the standard threshold shift in the first ear. In such a situation, OSHA requires that the second audiogram be treated as providing the annual audiometric test results for both ears. The employee must be notified that there is a standard threshold shift of hearing in both his/her ears.

Before a baseline audiogram may be revised due to a standard threshold shift, the shift must be persistent in the judgment of the professional evaluating the audiograms. In the situation you related, per