Mining Hearing Conservation Programs: What is the Status & Can We do Better?








October 23rd, 2019


10:30 am -11:30 am 


Nevada 9


Company: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

TitleLead Audiologist

 Dr. Amanda Azman is a research audiologist with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Her work, within the Pittsburgh Mining Research Division Workplace Health Branch, is currently focused on evaluating and improving existing hearing conservation programs in mining. She has worked directly with miners, mine management, and manufacturers of mining equipment, on various noise issues as well as strategies for decreasing worker occupational noise exposure and subsequent hearing loss. She also manages the NIOSH hearing loss prevention mobile audiometric test trailer. The trailer is driven to various mines and customer outreach events to provide free hearing tests, general hearing loss prevention information, and guidance on selection and use of hearing protectors. Dr. Azman has worked for NIOSH since 2007, enjoying hearing loss prevention research and especially working with miners at their jobsites.  

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Despite the MSHA Occupational Noise Exposure Standard existing for nearly 20 years, noise exposure and hearing loss remains a major concern across mining commodities. The 7 key elements recommended by NIOSH to successfully implement a Hearing Conservation Program in mining will be discussed with specific examples from current research projects. Although it is recognized that each of these elements are needed to truly reduce occupational hearing loss, certain elements are more likely to become lax, or conversely, can be easily improved, for an overall increase in the effectiveness of the HCP. Therefore, the specific examples will focus on those elements: noise exposure monitoring, engineering and administrative controls, use of hearing protection devices, and education and motivation. Existing and emerging NIOSH tools and technologies as they relate to hearing conservation programs will be discussed. Implementing these easy, inexpensive solutions can move many existing hearing conservation programs from simply checking a required box, to truly making a difference in the hearing health of miners.