The UK Hearing Conservation Association aims to be a credible, independent source of information, providing practical advice and solutions to common noise and hearing problems inside and outside the workplace.
Speaking to Safety Management ahead of the launch, to co-incide with World Hearing Day on 3 March, founder member and occupational health practitioner Clare Forshaw said the idea came after visiting a conference of the National Hearing Conservation Association in America.
She realised there was nothing equivalent in the UK: “We have medical profession conferences and conferences for health and safety, but we never cross fertilise ideas for hearing conservation.
“We thought it’s important to get everyone passionate about hearing conservation under one umbrella – it’s an independent and credible resource for best practice, bringing all strands together.”
Hearing loss currently affects 11 million people in the UK, according to charity Action on Hearing Loss. The problem is also growing and it’s anticipated that by 2035 there will be 15.6 million people in the UK with some form of hearing loss.
UKHCA says the risk of hearing damage to people who work in high ambient noise environments and who also wear headphones or attend live music events in their leisure time escalates dramatically.
“We know people are exposed to loud music, for example, from a young age and in leisure. We have broadened our remit to influence and educate beyond the workplace therefore, but with a keen focus on workplace attitudes,” says Forshaw.
The first phase of work will be about awareness raising and sharing best practice.
Further down the line the UKHCA will look to ‘push innovation in the area’, to get manufacturers to develop more innovative products and to hold annual conferences. “What can we and should we do better? We will fill research gaps and lobby for change,” says Forshaw.
British Safety Council is pleased to support UKHCA, along with RoSpa, Institute of Acoustics, British Tinnitus Association, British Occupational Hygiene Society and the Society of Occupational Medicine.
For more information visit the website: hearingconservation.org.uk
Twitter: @uk_hearing, #loveyourears