Howard Leight LLC, San Diego, among the leading global providers of passive and intelligent hearing protection solutions, is participating in a field study conducted by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) in collaboration with Yale University that is evaluating the effectiveness of new technologies to prevent occupational noise-induced hearing loss among mine inspectors, according to a statement released by the company.

Theresa Y. Schulz PhD, Lt Col USAF (retired), hearing conservation manager, Howard Leight/Sperian Hearing Protection LLC, and former team leader of the Hearing Loss Prevention Branch at The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) said in the statement that, based on the data, mine workers and inspectors are especially at risk for noise-induced hearing loss.

By age 50, about 90% of coal miners, and 49% of metal/nonmetal miners, have a hearing impairment, versus 10% of non-miners, according to NIOSH.

The MSHA study under way is evaluating a variety of new hearing loss prevention technologies. The research is being conducted in the field, with on-the-job MSHA mine inspectors, in cooperation with the Yale Occupational and Environmental Medicine Program of the Yale University School of Medicine.

It’s expected that a report on the findings will be produced for MSHA by year-end.

Howard Leight says it is providing three advanced technologies for evaluation in the study:

·         QuietDose personal dosimeter that measures and records a worker’s actual in-ear exposure to noise over an entire work shift

·         VeriPRO technology that measures real-world attenuation of unmodified earplugs and can be used to improve individual employee training and enhance the overall effectiveness of Hearing Conservation Programs

·         Electronic earmuffs that manage impulse/impact noise, limiting ambient sound amplification to safe levels, revert to passive protection when noise reaches unsafe levels

Additional technologies for the study, provided by other manufacturers, include custom-fit earplug technology, and traditional foam earplugs.

[Source: Howard Leight]