To help people avoid noise-induced hearing loss, 3M has launched a social campaign called the “Hearing Pledge,” which aims to educate workers and the public on how to detect and help protect them from hazardous noise.

By taking the pledge at, 3M is encouraging people to commit to wearing hearing protection when exposed to noise in excess of 85 decibels. People can also share the pledge site with friends and family. Those who pledge can opt to enter a giveaway, with prizes such as an iPod touch mobile digital device and sound control earbuds.

For many people, constant exposure to excessive noise is part of the job description. A few workplace environments where hazardous noise is common include manufacturing, assembly, farming, military, oil and gas, transportation, entertainment, mining, and construction sites.

“Many workers choose to go without hearing protection because of discomfort or inconvenience,” said Dr. Laurie Wells, an audiologist at 3M. “This can lead to permanent hearing loss, as well as tinnitus— constant ringing, buzzing, or whistling in the ear—and a myriad of other effects like sleep disturbance, hypertension, anxiety, and stress. That’s why raising awareness of the hearing-loss epidemic and preventative measures is so important.”

BASF, the world’s leading chemical company, agrees. Through a wellness campaign called “Soundcheck 2012,” BASF is educating its employees on the detrimental effects of excessive noise. As part of this initiative, BASF enlisted 3M’s HearForce Hearing Conservation trainers to educate 2,640 employees about hearing loss at 37 BASF sites in the United States.

“Hearing damage can affect our employees at work and at home so we’re making sure they understand the risks, get the appropriate hearing protection, and are committed to using it whenever life gets too loud,” said Dr Patrick Conner, BASF’s vice president of Corporate Medical.