01 Jul 2022

Access to smart data will drive down incidents of noise-induced hearing loss

Hearing loss smart data

Acoustic specialist Minuendo is calling for a dramatic change in the way companies monitor and respond to noise-induced hearing loss in the workplace. They claim that current practices are doing nothing to support employers, safety managers or employees in mitigating the risk of occupational hearing loss.

A recent report from the World Health Organisation highlights the scale of the problem: it estimates that 1.3 billion people globally suffer from hearing loss due to noise exposure – either through work or leisure activities. According to the HSE, some 14,000 people in the UK suffered damage to their hearing at work during 2021 alone – and this is likely to be a conservative estimate.

Neal Muggleton, Chief Operating Officer at Minuendo, commented: “Current occupational hearing loss processes are a failure. They represent a massive time and cost burden, but despite all the training, monitoring and information-gathering there is no visibility of how PPE is performing in the field, who is wearing it properly or who is being over-exposed – until it is too late. We need to cut through the noise and find a solution that works for everyone involved.”

Minuendo believes that technology transfer from the music industry, combined with Cloud storage and smart data processing, is the way forward. The company’s reputation is based on helping musicians to cancel out extraneous noise and focus on the sounds they need to hear. Minuendo is confident that the same technology can be applied in other industries to dramatically reduce occupational hearing loss.

Its solution is called Smart Alert, a system designed to automate and integrate the process of noise monitoring and encourage better noise-related behaviour. Smart Alert basically consists of a set of acoustically designed earplugs attached to a smart collar, and a docking station that charges the earplugs and downloads the data they collect. That data is then stored on the Cloud, where it can be interrogated.

Results can be delivered as automatic exposure notifications to individuals via SMS text or email, or presented in Dashboards to make it relevant and accessible for safety managers so they can see where intervention is required.

Smart Alert offers the employer a reliable and continuous record of the noise exposure for every single employee, so that occupational risk can be distinguished from other sources of noise. It improves the life of the safety manager, who can now easily identify where interventions are required. Most importantly, it improves the life of the employee by warning them at the point of danger and giving them access to the information they need to keep themselves safe.

Neal concluded: “The ability to access meaningful data and act upon it is the future of hearing loss prevention.

Company info: Minuendo