However, music and band teachers are routinely exposed to high levels of noise in their work, making them vulnerable to hearing loss. Because most music teachers with hearing loss experience it gradually, many may not notice the problem before it progresses to something more serious.
Hearing loss is even more problematic for these workers, as their hearing is an essential part of being able to perform their chosen profession. A simple audiogram test is all it takes to see if they are, in fact, experiencing hearing loss.
Free On-Site Audiograms
We encourage your music department staff to participate in PSWCT’s free annual on-site audiograms. PSWCT launched this as an added benefit for all member districts in 2015. We are happy to report since that time, most of our districts have participated in this program, with over 1,000 audiograms completed. However, we would like to see this testing extended to district music and band staff members.
Districts that have already participated in this program have taken the important first step of establishing a baseline test result for those employees considered to be at high risk. Going forward, these employees will be tested annually to conduct a comparative analysis of whether there has been any hearing loss. If your district participated in this program last year, you will be contacted by our vendor, Listen Audiology, to schedule a new appointment near the prior year’s testing anniversary date.
Time for a Baseline
If your music department staff did not participate last year, you can start the program at any time by making an appointment with Listen Audiology at your convenience, to establish baseline results.
These services are offered free of charge as part of your membership with the Trust. If you have any questions, please contact our loss control staff, Steve Lyons or Matt Tardif, for assistance. Listen Audiology contact information is listed below.
Who to Test?
When assessing which employees will require audiograms, please know that testing is limited to the employee classifications listed below, which are known to be exposed to a time weighted average (TWA) greater than 85 decibels in an 8-hour workday:
- Secondary Music Instructors – Band, Orchestra, Instrumental, and Choir
- Primary Music Instructors if they teach/instruct one or more periods at the secondary level.
Please keep in mind:
- Allow a 2-hour testing window per on-site appointment to test up to 19 employees. (Large school districts may need to schedule additional time.)
- If you need extra time or an extra site visit to include all of your employees in the testing program, please let Steve Lyons or Matt Tardif know. They can authorize the additional testing time for you.
Take Action Now!
Establishing a baseline for hearing loss is extremely important. Not only can it help protect your staff’s hearing, it may protect your district from a costly hearing-loss claim.