UK Hearing Conservation Association conference – Noise at work must remain on the HS agenda
Introducing the UK Hearing Conservation Association’s inaugural ‘Listen Up’ conference in Manchester last week, Clare Forshaw said noise-induced hearing loss needs a new focus.
“Many people still ask why noise is still being discussed,” she said, “…it’s not just industrial noise, it’s headphones, music, noise from coffeeshops.”
She said that while issues around traditional heavy industry environments might have improved it’s a shift in working behaviours post-pandemic, with many working from home or in cafes, creating new issues around hearing loss.
Forshaw is a founding director of the UK Hearing Conservation Association and she plotted the group’s relatively young journey. Set up three years ago “with Covid in the middle” it has created successful collaborations with stakeholders including BOHS, RoSPA, and a successful blueprint adoption of the National Hearing Conservation Association in the US – who remain a strong partner – has seen the group thrive.
As such, the Association has set up or is in the process of setting up a number of initiatives and campaigns to keep the issues around noise on the health and safety agenda, notably around definition.
“Lots of occupational health providers are struggling to define what noise-induced hearing loss is,” Forshaw explained, a goal the Association hopes to achieve through its relationship with the Society of Occupational Medicine.
“We want to collaborate and we want to support others,” she continued setting the tone for the rest of the conference.
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