Noise Safety Challenge Now Under Way

Hearing damage is pervasive, both from occupational exposures and from recreational exposures. According to NIOSH, U.S. business paid more than $1.5 million in penalties last year for not protecting workers from noise and an estimated $242 million is spent annually on workers' compensation for hearing loss disability.

NIOSH, OSHA, and MSHA have launched the "Hear and Now—Noise Safety Challenge," which is a competition to encourage designers, developers, entrepreneurs, inventors, and innovators to submit ideas for technological solutions to hearing protection problems. The contest announcement said 10 finalists will be invited to pitch their ideas to a panel of investors, judges, and representatives from government offices, with submissions due Sept. 30 and a final event to be Oct. 27 in the Washington, D.C., area

Hearing damage is pervasive, both from occupational exposures and from recreational exposures. According to NIOSH, U.S. business paid more than $1.5 million in penalties last year for not protecting workers from noise and an estimated $242 million is spent annually on workers' compensation for hearing loss disability.

Winning ideas will get noticed by NIOSH Research to Practice and interact with U.S. Patent and Trademark Office representatives, the announcement promises.

The Oct. 27 Noise Safety Challenge event will start at 9 a.m. Eastern time. Participants are responsible for their own cost of traveling to and from the event if selected to present. The announcement says the agencies "will respect all intellectual property but participants are responsible for obtaining applicable patents.

The minimum information required for each submission is described this way:

  • Describe the problem you are solving.
  • Design concepts that address the problem. Be as specific as possible about what makes your idea different from anything available and how it would address the specific need.
  • Include diagrams, sketches, and mock-up views that show your vision.
  • Submit your idea to https://www.challenge.gov/challenge/hear-and-now-noise-safety-challenge/.

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