29 April 2020

HS2 partners with Eave on a new approach to preventing occupational deafness

HS2 and CSjv, its Euston early works contractor, have teamed up with cutting edge smart tech company Eave to take major steps towards eliminating work-related hearing damage.

The initiative is part of HS2’s innovation programme that seeks to nurture new and evolving technologies through involvement in the delivery of Britain’s largest ever infrastructure project. 

Smart ear defender manufacturer, Eave used HS2’s London construction sites as a testbed to perfect the latest version of its hearing protection technology.

Eave’s solution uses a digitally-enabled headset that both protects hearing and gathers noise data. The data is transferred to unique noise mapping software and analysed to produce accurate information about every worker’s noise exposure across the worksite.

The smart technology both locates and measures noise to enable a targeted approach to protect every person’s hearing across a construction site.

Eave headsets are designed with revolutionary ‘hear-through’ technology that eliminates the need for a site worker to remove them in order to hear sound around them or talk to colleagues, and so vastly improving their safety, productivity and long term wellbeing.

Eave CEO and founder Dr David Greenberg, said:

“Damage to hearing from noise exposure at work is permanent and debilitating, but it is also preventable. Our partnership with HS2 is important to demonstrate the health, social and commercial benefits of Eave’s solution. As awareness of the harmful effects of noise exposure increases so the technology we’ve been developing with the HS2 project will help both site workers and their businesses to manage noise in a way that is targeted, efficient and safe.”

HS2 innovation manager Rob Cairns, who brought together Dr Greenberg’s technological innovation and Britain’s largest ever construction project said:

“Sixty-eight per cent of all claims against employers are for occupational deafness, which underlines the importance of Eave’s innovation for improving employee health in the sector.

“As the largest infrastructure project in British history, employing tens of thousands of people and stretching across the 2020s and 2030s we can use HS2’s scale to introduce improvements to working conditions and employee wellbeing that permanently changes the industry for good.”

About the innovation project

HS2 has an innovation programme to drive improvements from which it and the wider industry can benefit.  As part of this programme HS2 has partnered with a London-based SME called Eave to develop their cutting-edge hearing protection technology for people working in the construction industry.

HS2 and CSjv decided to partner with Eave and become its test bed for the development of Eave’s technology because we can see the potential benefits of the technology. Eave trialled its technology across multiple HS2 sites including the Euston building sites.

About Eave

Eave is a smart technology company created to help with the prevention of occupational deafness through the monitoring of, and protection against, damaging noise levels. Founded by clinical and research audiologist, Dr. David Greenberg, Eave’s mission is to eliminate the isolation and loneliness caused by occupational hearing loss..

Eave’s founder, Dr David Greenberg partnered with HS2 and CSjv to use the construction sites on Britain’s largest infrastructure project as testbeds to perfect the implementation and adoption of the technology within the rail and construction sector. The invention not only protects the wearer’s hearing while enabling them to hear what’s going on around them but also monitors and maps their exposure to site noise throughout the day. 

What is the impact of hearing damage in the workplace?

Dept Work & Pension stats for 2015-16 (the latest available) show that of the top 10 occupational diseases by employer liability insurance claims (24,114), occupational deafness made up 68% of all claims.

Heath & Safety Executive 2014 figures show that £360m was spent on hearing damage claims in the UK.  

The science

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is the most common occupational disease in Europe, accounting for about one third of all work-related diseases, according to the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work

More than two million people in are UK exposed to unacceptable noise levels at work.

Hearing damage is irreparable, so prevention is the best approach. Traditionally ear plugs and passive defenders have been used by construction industry workers. These are to one’s hearing what blindfolds are to our sight. Reducing one’s ability to hear for protective reasons on potentially dangerous worksite carries risks itself.