WAHTS Hearing Protector Fit Testing

The WAHTS hearing protector fit test complies with the new ANSI/ASA standard for reporting personalized attenuation ratings (ANSI/ASA S12.71-2018). Because WAHTS includes an audiometer, it provides flexibility for performing both hearing testing and fit testing in your hearing conservation program. It can also be used in combination with the audhere mobile app to conduct fit testing both one-on-one and in group settings.

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Fit Testing with the audhere WAHTS HeadsetInvest in Your Hearing

Many employees fail to insert hearing protection appropriately, which results in ineffective hearing protection and permanent hearing loss. Hearing conservation programs have been pushing for a system that verifies the employee has appropriate ear protection.

OSHA, NIOSH, and the DOD emphasize the importance of fit testing as a best practice to protect an employee’s hearing. While OSHA doesn’t necessarily require fit testing for a hearing protection device, both the DOD and NIOSH consider it a gold standard.

In parallel, ANSI/ASA has recently issued a standard (ANSI S12.71-2018) that depicts exactly how manufacturers should validate their fit test system through specific laboratory-based procedures. These validation studies are geared to ensure that a fit test system is accurate and repeatable.

What is Fit Testing?

Fit testing is designed to be a quantitative technique to verify that a hearing protector device is working properly. It is used to measure the effectiveness of a headset or attenuating earplugs while also providing an individuals’ Personal Attenuation Rating (PAR) by measuring the amount of noise reduction that a hearing protector provides. This measure identifies those at risk for hearing loss as a result of a poor fit of the earplug and can ultimately prevent future degradation in hearing.

There are two types of fit tests:


An individual listens to a stimuli and responds to the noise with or without earplugs. This type of fit test is very similar to a standard hearing test.

Physical sensors, e.g., microphones, are used to calculate the attenuation provided by the hearing protector. This technique provides a simple quantitative measure of how different the sound level is on the outside of the ear versus the inside of the ear.

The Best Fit Testing System Should Consider:

Can be used across multiple devices.
Minimal Equipment
Uses the same equipment for hearing testing and fit testing.
Performs a fit test quickly.
Software that is intuitive and easy to train on.
Is able to be transported and used outside of a clinic.
Multi-Person Testing
Performs multi-person testing for both hearing testing and fit testing.

WAHTS: Specifications for Fit Testing

WAHTS provides a boothless, multi-person testing option that is fast, easy-to-use, and follows the ANSI S12.71 standard.
System Components

•Supports both automated hearing testing and fit testing
•Intuitive mobile app, tablet, and headset
•Highly-attenuating headset allows you to test in more environments

System Outputs

•PAR is computed with REAT-based method
•A report is available on a mobile app and can be downloaded by CSV, PDF
•The results can be uploaded to a third-party electronic health database

How is the WAHTS Fit Test Performed?

The WAHTS fit test can be administrated in two different instances: it can be paired with an annual hearing test and performed directly after, or it can occur as a separate and individual test to measure the unoccluded and occluded thresholds.

When conducted, the test can occur in a single-person setting or a group setting.

Group Testing

For a group test, the administrator performs an introduction and the initial training to the group, providing the individuals with the same steps to follow as a single-person test. The administrator remains close by to answer questions or follow up with those who may need assistance.

Performance Statement

This table presents the information required by the ANSI/ASA S12.71-2018 American National Standard Performance Criteria for Systems that Estimate the Attenuation of Passive Hearing Protectors for Individual Users. This criteria is designed to evaluate fit test systems that report a personal attenuation rating.

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