Four inventors were recognized for their ideas to reduce work-related hearing loss during the first “Hear and Now – Noise Safety Challenge” hosted by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Mine Safety and Health Administration, in partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health on October 27, in Washington, D.C.
The challenge was launched with the dual goals of inspiring creative ideas and raising business awareness of the market for workplace safety innovation. Ten finalists, selected from 28 submissions to Challenge.gov, were invited to Washington, DC to present their solutions to reduce workplace-induced hearing loss.
“This event was an innovative way for government to help better protect workers from job-related hearing loss by connecting the entrepreneurial community with inventors developing solutions,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels.
A panel of judges awarded first place to Nick Laperle and Jeremie Voix for eers™, their custom-fitted earpiece designed to provide a worker with protection, communication, and monitoring.
Brendon Dever from Heads Up Display Inc. was selected for second place for his wearable sensor technology that affixes to glasses or protective equipment such as hardhats. The sensor detects noise levels and provides warnings and other communications via color-coded lights.
Third place was awarded to Madeline Bennett from Otogear™ for her interchangeable decorative piece that attaches to silicone earplugs. The attachments are manufactured with licensed designs for sports teams, businesses, or music festivals.
Every year, 22 million workers risk losing their hearing from workplace noise hazards. Hearing loss disability costs businesses an estimated $242 million annually in workers’ compensation.