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Hearing damage caused by (long-term) exposure to workplace noise has been a concern for many years. Workplace noise exposures have been successfully reduced, but there are still some pockets of industry where noise exposure levels remain high, leading to an unacceptable risk of hearing damage.

Employers sometimes find it difficult to achieve adequate noise control through engineering methods and rely on personal hearing protection programmes. This is not appropriate as the hazard (noise source) is still present.

Improvements in the quality of noise information supplied with work equipment are slowly trickling through to the market. However, some manufacturers of work equipment could do more to reduce risk from noise at source and improve the quality of noise information supplied with their products.

HSE held discussions with industry on Buy Quiet at the RICOH arena, Coventry on 2 March 2010. The event included workshops that explored the breadth of industry views on the scope for reducing employees' exposure to noise in the workplace through use of proven practical noise controls .