Employers should be using new cost-effective technology and techniques to prevent workers suffering permanent and disabling hearing damage from exposure to loud noise at work, says Peter Wilson.

Unsustainable noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) UK insurance claim payouts of more than £400million in 2014 alone illustrate just how ineffective current conventional noise risk reduction processes (dominated by personal protective equipment), have been to cut a health risk that is 100 per cent preventable. It’s long past time to make noise risk management effective by applying new techniques and technology.

The almost ubiquitous conventional approach to noise risk management has been to spend resources on repeated placebo noise assessments, coupled with recommending personal hearing protection for workers. Virtually no resources are spent on evaluating the effectiveness of the personal protective equipment (PPE) in practice (despite HSE research proving that hearing protection is not effective), or on modern, low cost (even self-financing) and highly effective noise control measures for plant and machinery.

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