USDOL launches tech competition to improve worker hearing safety

construction worker hearing protection earThe U.S. Department of Labor recently launched the “Hear and Now – Noise Safety Challenge,” a competition that it hopes will encourage investors and entrepreneurs to develop a technological solution to hearing-related workplace noise hazards, EHS Today reports.

The competition, a partnership between the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), hopes to inspire creative ideas and business awareness of hearing loss.

Submissions are due by Friday, September 30, 2016. The top 10 entries will be selected on Friday, October 7, and the winning participants will be invited to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges at an event in Washington D.C on October 27.

Representatives of the NIOSH Research to Practice Program and representatives of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will be present at the event, as well as investors.

The competition is open to the general public and to all ideas related to occupational hearing protection, including the following:

  • Technology that will enhance employer training and improve effective use of hearing protection;
  • Technology that alerts workers when hearing protection is not blocking enough noise to prevent hearing loss; and
  • Technology that allows workers to hear important alerts or human voices while remaining protected from harmful noise.

More information and a link to submit ideas can be found at