Sep 052010
 
Hearing impairment
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Some 600 cases of noise-induced hearing impairment are reported by the Norwegian petroleum industry every year.

A new, intelligent earplug is now set to alleviate the problem.

Norway’s largest company, Statoil ASA, is taking the problems associated with noise exposure seriously. Over the course of four years the international energy company has led efforts to further develop an existing combined hearing protection and communication product for use on offshore platforms.

World’s most advanced hearing protection device

A microphone on the outside of the new “offshore” version of the QUIETPRO earplug picks up ambient sounds. The sound is digitally processed, and unwanted loud noises are filtered out before the sound is sent to a speaker inside the earplug. Users can adjust the level of ambient sound, as desired.

A microphone on the inside of the earplug picks up speech signals through the skull. This means that users do not have to have a microphone in front of their mouth, as is the case with the ear protection devices currently used on most offshore platforms. Another advantage is that the microphone inside the ear does not pick up background noise in the way that a microphone in front of the mouth does.

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