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Proactive approach to NIHL

27 June 2022

HAVING ACCESS to meaningful information about noise exposure is key to encouraging behavioural change and improving the way safety managers engage with at-risk employees. This is the driving force behind Smart Alert, a new and intelligent system from Minuendo aimed at preventing noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) in the workplace.

Neal Muggleton, COO of Minuendo explains, “The challenge for safety managers is gaining an accurate understanding of an individual’s noise exposure, the wear rate of equipment and whether it is being worn properly. This is where Smart Alert comes in. It offers the only truly automated and integrated approach to hearing loss prevention available on the market - setting new standards in industrial and construction applications.”

The Smart Alert system is much more than Smart PPE. It combines Minuendo’s acoustics design expertise with the latest digital developments to provide a simple, connected, wearable technology that empowers end-users and provides supervisors with actionable insight. 

The starting point is an ergonomic earplug developed originally for musicians and then refined for industrial markets. The lossless earpieces protect against workplace noise while supplying the end-user with natural sound: maintaining directivity, situational awareness, and communication with co-workers. The earplugs can be worn on their own or under ear defenders, providing comfortable protection over lengthy periods of time.

The intelligent earpieces are connected to a lightweight, collar-mounted unit which contains the digital brain of the Smart Alert system. This enables Active Noise Monitoring to be integrated into the hearing protection, delivering in-device alerts that immediately advise workers when they need to act due to unsafe noise levels. This may entail physically moving further away from the noise source, inserting the Smart Alert earplugs, or adding additional hearing protection until the noise risk abates.

During each shift, the Smart Alert earplug continuously collects the noise level and provides other important data, such as whether the maximum safe limit of noise exposure was reached. At the end of the working day, the device is docked and noise data is securely transferred to the Smart Alert cloud platform, where it is analysed and converted into meaningful insight. 

Personal guidance is provided for users experiencing high daily noise exposure levels using automated notifications via email or text message. These straightforward suggestions empower employees to improve their personal safety and lower the risk of noise-induced hearing loss. 

For the safety manager, Smart Alert provides information in an accessible dashboard. The safety manager is only alerted when action needs to be taken: for instance an employee regularly failing to don their noise protection equipment. This targeted approach eliminates the risk of information overload and lets the safety manager operate more efficiently and effectively.

The solution further allows historical data on hearing loss prevention to be stored over time. This data pool provides a vital audit trail of compliance with best practices should it be required. 

For more information, visit: www.minuendo.com/smart-alert-earplugs