All about Earplugtest and Mark Ashmore


Earplugtest was created to enable anyone that uses earplugs, and employers whose staff are exposed to loud or persistent noise, to check that they are effectively protected from Noise Induced Hearing Loss and serious related health conditions including dementia.

Before it’s development, there was no easy, quick, or cost-effective way to check whether earplugs actually provided the hearing protection they were purchased for without the use of specialist equipment or trained operators or both.

Many people rely on manufacturers’ specifications when purchasing earplugs, however, these are not based on real-world use and don’t tell the user whether they have fitted them correctly in their ears (incorrectly fitted earplugs can reduce the level of protection to nil).

Instead manufacturers’ specifications are based on laboratory tests on just 16 people, with the findings averaged to come up with a single number rating (SNR).

Unsurprisingly this leads to people purchasing earplugs in good faith to protect their hearing, only to find they suffer from significant hearing loss, deafness, and debilitating related health conditions in later life.

The founder of Earplugtest, Mark Ashmore – an expert and innovator in hearing health – knew there had to be a solution to this. He has now created the world’s first and only scientifically validated earplug test that can be used by anyone anywhere without any special equipment or expertise needed.

The online test just requires the user to have their earplugs, a pair of headphones, and an internet connected desktop computer, laptop, or tablet device. And in less than 10 minutes, a personalised report is created that tells the user whether they have fitted their earplugs correctly (most people don’t) and how well they perform. This could be noise in any environment including from within a factory, from machinery or tools, from planes and other forms of transport, or from music and concerts.

The test has been independently verified by a leading hearing health academic, Professor C. Barlow PhD MIOA of KP Acoustics and Southampton Solent University.

At just £4.95 (including a free retest if your earplugs aren’t fitted correctly or fail the first time around), the test is the most cost-effective and easy way to protect your hearing health.

Mark Ashmore RHAD, MIOA

Earplugtest was invented and developed by Mark Ashmore, a pioneer in the field of hearing, acoustics, and noise.

Mark has worked in the hearing health arena for the past 25 years. He qualified as a Registered Hearing Aid Dispenser in 1994, subsequently working for a major hearing aid retailer followed by a leading manufacturer, before setting up his own independent private practice.

In 2005 he completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Acoustics and Noise Control, and in 2012 he moved away from frontline care of those with irreversible hearing impairment to work on innovative ideas designed to help people protect their hearing.

Mark’s accreditations:

  • Member of The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
  • Member of The Institute of Acoustics (IOA)
  • IOA representative on the British Standards Institution (BSI) committee that develops British Standards for hearing protection Member of the European Working Group for Hearing Protection
  • Co-author of the UK Hearing Conservation Association’s recently launched Hearing Protection Fit Testing guide

As well as Earplugtest, Mark’s hearing health innovations include:

  • The revolutionary iPad-based air conduction hearing test licensed exclusively to Specsavers and used in 900+ of their stores. The test is the first of its kind and complies with three British Standards and is CE marked as a Class 1 medical device. It has been used by millions of people who needed a reliable, quick, and easy hearing test.
  • UK patent on a pair of headphones which, when connected to any computer, delivers a British Standard hearing test to a user at a time and place of their choosing.