The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and partners, announced the winners of 2022 Safe-in-Sound Awards in the areas of both manufacturing and audio engineering. Northrop Grumman, St Augustine Site, will be presented with the award for Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention, while Michael Lawrence, Jamie Anderson, and Rational Acoustics LLC win the honors for Innovation in Hearing Loss Prevention. The award recipients will be recognized at the National Hearing Conservation Association 46th Annual Conference on February 11.

Related article: NIOSH Study Tracks Usage of Hearing Protection

Although two very different companies, both recipients were chosen for being real-world examples of successful hearing loss prevention initiatives in fields where work conditions can lead to several hearing problems.

Northrop Grumman, St Augustine Site, Florida

The Excellence in Hearing Loss Prevention Award is given to companies who exceed normal expectations to protect their workers’ hearing, incorporating prevention measures into daily work practice. Northrop Grumman, St Augustine Site, a manufacturing center located in Florida, is an example of these practices. The company demonstrates a strong safety culture by:

  • Implementing noise controls;
  • Adopting buy-quiet strategies in the purchase of new equipment and tools;
  • Providing several alternatives of hearing protection devices, hearing protection fit-testing, and state-of-the art communication-enhanced electronic hearing protection devices as needed;
  • Carefully reviewing and analyzing audiometry results aiming to identify early changes in hearing, and finally;
  • Continuously improving their training to ensure relevance. Employees at all levels are engaged in the initiatives.

Michael Lawrence, Jamie Anderson, and Rational Acoustics LLC

The Innovation in Hearing Loss Prevention Award is given to individuals or organizations for any new or unique approaches to hearing loss prevention. Rational Acoustics, an audio software development company, Michael Lawrence, a senior instructor and product manager for the company, and Jamie Anderson, president, owner, and director of training, will receive the award.

The group’s sound system analysis tool, Smaart, has reportedly been the industry standard platform for system measurement and alignment in the live events industry since its introduction in 1995, according to NIOSH’s announcement. Smaart SPL, an advanced version of the tool introduced in 2020, was developed to equip live sound engineers with the necessary tools to measure sound level and manage sound exposure risk for live sound mixers, event crew, and concert attendees.

“Rational Acoustics took a technology that people didn’t understand or trust, brought it into common adaption, and developed accepted workflows and methods,” said Lawrence.  The company’s outreach activities offer education and guidance on how to improve sound quality while managing risk, making Rational Acoustics an “obvious choice,” according to NIOSH.

The Safe-in-Sound awards are a product of a partnership between NIOSH, the National Hearing Conservation Association (NHCA), and the Council for Accreditation in Occupational Hearing Conservation (CAOHC). The awards have been presented annually since 2009. 

The deadline for submitting nominations for the 2023 awards is July 15, 2022. Guidance to nominate others or oneself can be found on the Safe-in-Sound website. To understand more about these awards, read about past winners, and watch a recording of this year’s award ceremony visit:  

NIOSH is the federal institute that conducts research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. For more information about NIOSH visit:

Source: NIOSH

Image: Safe-in-Sound website