Train The Trainer

How Do I Do A Sensitivity Test?

The sensitivity test is a critical part of qualitative face fit testing, in undertaking one we are looking to verify that the subject is able to taste the solution we are using, and that their sense of taste identifies it within the limits stipulated.

For a qualitative test to be performed no more than 30 sprays of the sensitivity solution is permissible.

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Performing a Sensitivity Test

It is important you have read our information on preparing a test kit for use as improper assembly can cause serious problems.

3M FT-31 Bitter Sensitivity Solution

The sensitivity solution is a diluted version of the solution used for the actual test.

Sensitivity solution nebuliser

A test kit will come with two nebulisers. This one is identified for use with the sensitivity solution.

It is also very important for the subject to have experienced the taste they are looking for during the face fit test that would indicate they have a leak. They should fully understand they must tell us if they even taste a hint of it during the actual face fit test we’ll be doing on them later.

Ensure they understand that what you are spraying into the hood is a ‘leak detector’ and that during the test any taste whatsoever indicates a leak that we must be made aware of.

Prior to undertaking a sensitivity test on a subject we must be sure that our subjects are medically fit and well enough to go through the testing process and they haven’t ingested anything other than plain, still water, for at least 30-minutes prior to the sensitivity test being performed. This includes smoking and vaping.

Failure to adhere to this will adversely affect the accuracy of the sensitivity test and can lead to inaccuracies in the testing process.

Once the candidate is clear we are ready to begin the sensitivity test. Be clear that we are looking for them to tell us when the taste is strong for them, a squinting of the eyes usually confirms they are tasting the sensitivity solution in the desired way during this initial pre-test. The bitter flavour solutions should always be the first choice.

Place the hood over the subjects head and ensuring the nebuliser is the sensitivity solution do one final test spray outside of the hood and then, holding it absolutely vertically count as you deliver full sprays through the hole on the vision panel.

Ensure you spray straight towards the subjects mouth and observe them breathing in and breathing out through the mouth repeatedly. Count the sprays required until a strong taste is detected.

Once the subject confirms they have tasted the sensitivity solution remove the hood and offer them plain, still water to help expedite eliminating the taste from their mouths. Place the vent caps back in the nebuliser and store vertically.

Sensitivity test is done without a mask

No mask is worn for the sensitivity test and we ask our subject to breath in and out through the mouth only.

By asking out subject to hold the collar down, an overhanging angle is created by the vision panel; this makes it easier to spray the sensitivity solution into the hood properly.

In order for us to move forwards the subject must have recognised the taste within 30 sprays. They will have either tasted it between 1-10, 11-20 or 21-30 sprays. We must log accurately their result in order that we use the correct amount of test solution when we perform the actual face fit test on them.

Should the subject have required more than 30 sprays to taste the sensitivity solution we can repeat the sensitivity test after a suitable period of time with the other flavour of solutions (sweet)

Before that though, we must wait at least 15 minutes or until the taste has completely disappeared (whichever is the longer) before we can begin the face fit test itself. Because of this, after the sensitivity test is usually a good time to demonstrate the mask they will be tested on. Be sure to cover donning and removing, checks for an effective seal (suction, glasses not steaming etc) along with filter changing, cleaning and maintenance requirements as necessary.

You have successfully performed a sensitivity test.

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