This presentation provides an overview of the Occupational Audiometric Refresher Programme as field-tested in Gauteng province, South Africa. Despite growth in occupational health, audiometric surveillance is fragmented with poor record quality in RSA as similarly reported in USA and UK. Limited training opportunities perpetuate in Africa with no legal requirement for audiometrists to attend refresher programmes. The study thus developed and tested an intervention that would improve audiogram quality and cohesive result management.Method
Mixed methods enriched the structured modularised blended learning refresher programme that evolved. A one group pre-test, post-test field-test with 49 purposively sampled registered audiometrists. Quality of the pre-intervention biological calibration audiogram was compared against a compliant record, and the individual’s 3 spaced post-intervention audiograms, using the validated Quality Audiometric Record Checklist (QARC). Content analysis of evaluation forms provided additional intent for change.Results
Pre-test audiograms quality scored at 57% average compared to 83% average post-test. Slight negative correlations existed between formal training (r=−0.22861), the reliance on automation (r=−0.04295) with their pre-test. T-testing of the lowest post-test scores was t (8)=3 00 007 to the pre-test. This exceeded the critical t (alpha 0.05)=2306. Appropriately managed results improved from 9,32% on pre-test to 73%. Despite login challenges (72%), time (66%) and capacity (41%) hindrances, the enhancing factors of transferring learning into practice included regular self-audits (72%) and to involve employers on the programme (72%).Discussion
Although not generalisable these results demonstrate that South African audiometrists produce poorer audiograms as related to the time lapsed from formal training and reliance on automation. In part solution to overcoming various challenges, the structured refresher programme provided improvement in preparation and legal criteria, and result management. The impact of the programme could further be enhanced through regular audits with audiometrists and employers.