Audiometric testing requirements

This page provides information on frequently asked questions relating to audiometric testing requirements.

When is audiometric testing required?

Audiometric (hearing) testing requirements apply when a worker is frequently required by the PCBU to wear hearing protection to protect against the risk of hearing loss associated with exposure to noise.

The PCBU who provides the worker with hearing protection as a control measure must provide the audiometric testing:

  • within three months of the worker commencing the work, and
  • in any event, at least every two years.

These requirements are set out in regulation 58 of both the Work Health and Safety (General) Regulations 2022 and the Work Health and Safety (Mines) Regulations 2022 (the WHS Regulations).

More information on these requirements, and how to comply, is available in section 5.4 of Managing noise and preventing hearing loss at work: Code of practice.

Who will pay for the audiometric testing?

The PCBU who provides the worker with hearing protection as a control measure must provide and pay for the audiometric testing.

Why are these tests conducted?

The purpose of the regulation 58 audiometric tests is to identify workers exposed to excessive noise and to intervene while the effects are still temporary in nature.

The test results can be valuable in verifying the effectiveness of controls implemented to minimise the risk of noise induced hearing loss from noise exposure, and ensuring those controls are maintained. The duty to implement and maintain control measures to manage risks to health and safety is outlined in regulation 36 and regulation 37.

What does 'frequently' mean in relation to using personal protective equipment (PPE)?

As the work health and safety laws do not define 'frequently', the ordinary meaning applies. The frequent use of hearing protection means using it often or commonly. In other words, if a worker is required to wear hearing protection as part of their normal workplace activity, that would be considered ‘frequently’.

However, if a one-off or unusual job at work requires the use of hearing protection, that would not be considered ‘frequently’. Likewise, a normal work task which requires the use of hearing protection but only occurs at long intervals such as once a month is also not considered ‘frequently’.

Does the PCBU have to provide audiometric (hearing) testing if they provide hearing protection to a worker?

Providing hearing protection to a worker does not in and of itself trigger the requirement to provide audiometric testing.

To determine if the duty to provide audiometric testing applies, the PCBU providing the hearing protection to the worker should also establish that:

  • the worker is frequently required to wear the hearing protection, and
  • the noise the worker is exposed to exceeds the exposure standard.

Who can conduct audiometric (hearing) tests?

An audiometric test should be performed by a competent person, having acquired the necessary level of training and experience to perform the test, interpret the results and present them in a manner that enables persons at the workplace to make appropriate decisions. 

Audiometric testing must be of a type described in regulation 58(1A), being either:

  1. pure tone air conduction threshold tests
  2. evoked otoacoustic emission testing, or
  3. any other testing or measurement of a person’s hearing that has been recommended by an audiologist and that provides an equivalent or better measurement of hearing thresholds than those specified in paragraph (a) or (b).

Audiometric testing should be conducted in accordance with procedures in Australian Standard 1269.4:2014 Occupational noise management – Auditory assessment.

Does an audiometric test conducted as part of a pre-employment medical meet the needs of regulation 58?

A pre-employment audiometric test is acceptable for the purpose of regulation 58(2)(a) if:

  • it is of a type defined under regulation 58(1A)
  • it was done within three months of the worker commencing the work and
  • it was done in accordance with the procedures in AS/NZS 1269.4:2014 Occupational noise management – Auditory assessment.

As a PCBU, how long do I need to keep records of the audiometric testing I have had done for my workers?

You should keep a copy of audiometric testing results for at least two years and also provide a copy to the worker.

I’ve taken a hearing test for the noise induced hearing loss assessment under WorkCover WA worker’s compensation scheme. Does this test meet the requirements of regulation 58?

An audiometric test conducted under WorkCover WA’s compensation scheme may be acceptable for the purpose of regulation 58(2)(a), if it was conducted within three months of the worker commencing  work.

However, a hearing test under the WorkCover WA compensation scheme would not meet the requirements of a follow-up test under regulation 58(2)(b). The key difference is highlighted in the table below:

Difference between WHS Regulation and Worker’s Compensation and Injury Management Act test regimes

Regulator Legislation Test condition Purpose
WorkSafe Commissioner WHS Regulations 2022 - Regulation 58(2)(b) Conducted well into the work shift To detect threshold shift in hearing and facilitate intervention before hearing loss becomes permanent

WorkCover WA

Worker’s Compensation and Injury Management Act - NIHL assessment Conducted after a 16-hour period of quiet To assess the percentage loss of hearing for the purpose of determining eligibility for worker’s compensation


What does ‘well into the work shift’ mean?

‘Well into the work shift’ means after a representative period of exposure to noise in the workplace and generally means at least halfway through the shift. An audiometric test conducted immediately at the end of shift would also satisfy this requirement.

What is temporary or permanent threshold shifts in hearing?

Threshold shift refers to a shift in the worker’s auditory threshold. This means there is a deterioration in the worker’s ability to hear sound. A threshold shift in hearing can occur after exposure to high noise levels. These shifts in hearing threshold can be temporary or permanent, resulting in temporary or permanent hearing loss.

What happens if the results of audiometric testing show a change in a worker’s hearing?

If the results of audiometric testing show a shift in the worker’s auditory threshold this may indicate a failure of noise control in the workplace. The PCBU must review the control measures in the workplace and determine whether the controls are working as intended, or whether more effective control measures can be implemented.

A follow-up test should be conducted prior to the next shift (i.e. after 16 hours of quiet) to determine if the threshold shift is temporary or permanent.

If the follow-up test indicates a permanent threshold shift, then the worker should be referred to a specialist to determine the cause of the hearing loss. The PCBU must continue to actively manage controls to minimise noise exposure in the workplace.


Last modified: