Auditory capacities, job requirements and personal rights

R. Hetu

Abstract


Job requirements referring to auditory capacities are almost always based on medico-legal definitions of hearing that were adopted in order to compensate people affected by occupational hearing loss. Such definitions emerged from a context that fundamentally differ from that of establishing job requirements. Auditory capacities are thus determined without consideration for the requirements of the actual task assignments. As a consequence, people with hearing losses are refused jobs even if they are actually capable of doing those jobs. Furthermore, the concept of occupational rehabilitation has not penetrated the audiological literature yet. There is no tradition in attempts to adapt workstations to the constraints imposed by hearing impairments. This situation calls for a new conceptual framework that can remove the various obstacles to the integration of people with hearing impairments in the workplace. This includes: (1) characterizing task requirements in terms of auditory capacities; (2) measuring these capacities with valid clinical tests; (3) adapting workstations, whenever practicable. An overview of the research activities of the Groupe d'Acoustique de l'Universite de Montreal in the area of sound warning signals perception in industrial workplaces illustrates this approach

Keywords


hearing; auditory capacities; medico-legal definitions; occupational hearing loss; occupational rehabilitation; hearing impairments; sound warning signals perception

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