Who’s Going to do all the Hearing Tests after Coronavirus?

Apr 2, 2020 | 0 comments

We created WorkScreen to make hearing tests at work easier, more accessible and first-person user-operated.

However, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and with many businesses operating from home, it’s unlikely things will return to normal anytime soon. And even when it does, the ‘norm’ might look very different.

Here is the relevant Health and Safety Executive advice, as well as our own thoughts on workplace hearing tests today – and hearing surveillance audiometry in the future — post-Corona lockdown.

Hearing tests during Coronavirus.
As you might expect, the HSE has issued guidance that all non-safety-critical surveillance may be put on hold:
“Providing the worker does not identify any relevant problems, audiometry can be deferred for a period of three months.” – Health & Safety Executive.
However, a few things must be noted from this:
You’ll need to conduct hearing surveillance tests for staff at risk when social distancing measures are relaxed.
Hearing surveillance is NOT the same as a hearing assessment (e.g. for a new starter) which MAY be safety-critical and an essential component of individual risk assessments.
It is generally good practice to make a relevant update in your risk assessment register explaining your actions and thoughts on this policy, including relevant dates.

Hearing tests post Coronavirus.

Working from home brings its own issues: from noisy kids and coffee spillages, to juggling new video conferencing platfoms.

But even if it feels a long way off at the moment, it’s important to consider surveillance programs in the coming months. Current indications are that:

Social distancing, working from home and other hygiene controls may persist, change, or cycle between being relaxed and re-imposed for a while yet.
Clinical staff may continue to be redirected to high-priority areas, reducing availability for non-safety critical activities such as hearing surveillance – thwarting compliance even when hearing tests are required.
Self-isolation and other measures may continue to disrupt staff presence, affecting their availability for testing. And any healthcare staff who are self-isolating cannot provide their valuable services.
There will be a considerable backlog of deferred hearing surveillance tasks.

However, WorkScreen can help. We pride ourselves on our flexibility, which is why we offer unique features to suit our clients. From large organizations who test hundreds of staff to small businesses testing as little as one employee.

Here are five WorkScreen features that are relevant to hearing tests after Corona:

Anytime, anywhere
WorkScreen tests new starters or returning workers anytime, anywhere, as soon as they’re available, and at your convenience — even when you’re low on staff or have so much work on it’s almost impossible to stop.

For more information on fitting hearing tests into even the most hectic times, read our blog post: Holiday Season: Perfect Timing for Hearing Tests at Work?

Multi-language & agency staff
Agency workers are a valuable resource to many employers, which is why WorkScreen hearing tests are available in a range of languages, including Polish and Romanian, to save you the expense and complexity of hiring translators.

Self-testing in multiple languages – we’re pretty proud of this one!

User-operated, minimum clinical burden
As a user-operated system, WorkScreen frees up clinical and occupational health staff for other activities — something which is going to continue to be vital, even when life starts to return to some semblance of normality.

Free report writing and referral
Our standard service includes report writing and referral (where required) at no extra cost, saving you even more time and effort.

Rent or licence
Whether your requirement is immediate, short term or permanent, WorkScreen is available for short-term rent or long-term licence. Either way, we maximise flexibility and cater to all budgets.

If you’ve lost your hearing (tests)
There’s very little businesses can do right now in terms of workplace surveillance testing, with the British Academy of Audiology (BAA) stating, “No new activity is recommended at this time,” and quite right too.

So, businesses like ourselves and those of our clients will need to sit tight, prepare for the future and await further instructions.

The good news is that once hearing tests are back on the cards, the WorkScreen handset is easy to sanitise. As a tablet-based system, WorkScreen does away with the patient response buttons of traditional audiometers, which may provide a site for cross-infection.

So while Coronavirus rages and unless hearing is safety critical to your organisation, hearing tests are unlikely to be forefront in your mind just now. But life will get more normal at some stage. For this reason WorkScreen is continuing to make hearing tests easier and more accessible to support you when that time comes.

If you’d like to take a few moments to prepare your business for WorkScreen hearing tests once social distancing rules are relaxed, contact us or read our FAQs for more information.