Civil engineering contractor BAM Nuttall is continuing to explore innovative construction site equipment and techniques with a trial of a dynamic hearing protection solution from health and safety technology company Eave
With noise-induced hearing loss being one of the most prevalent occupational illnesses, affecting 1.4 million workers in the EU and costing €1.4bn (~£1.24bn) annually, BAM Nuttall is trialling the Eave Work Bluetooth Ear Defenders. Designed to protect hearing, while allowing clear communications in heavy industry environments such as construction and marine engineering, the hearing protection technology adapt to their surroundings, separating speech from background noise.
“We are always interested in innovative construction solutions and have been trialling the Eave Work Bluetooth Ear Defenders on one of our large London sites recently,” says Colin Evison, Head of Innovation at BAM Nuttall.
“Following the pilot, the feedback so far has been very positive. The ear protectors cut down on loud background noise, while enhancing voice, allowing for easy communication without nullifying important audible safety signals such as alarms or sirens for example.”
The ear defenders have front and side facing beam forming microphones, combined with advanced audio algorithms that make communications in noisy environments effortless. The headsets also integrate wirelessly into existing communications networks, allowing the pairing of smartphones or walkie-talkies for easily heard conversations in a noisy environment.
“I come from a medical device background, having worked with hearing aids as a clinical audiologist. Loss of hearing is caused by getting old or exposure to loud noise. The latter is 100% preventable which is why we developed the Eave Work Bluetooth Ear Defenders.
“Our defenders enhance soft sounds, such as voice, while protecting against high-intensity noise. It’s important, however, to make sure that there is still an appropriate level of background noise to ensure that operatives remain safe. Overprotection from noise can be a health and safety risk too.”
As well as protecting hearing and facilitating clear communications the ear defenders also record noise data which can be accessed online. When paired with Bluetooth beacons a sound map can be produced, highlighting the levels of noise across the site at different times of the day.