The Science of Hearing

Excessive noise has become a permanent fixture of modern life. From in our workplaces to in our homes and in our leisure time, sound is all around us, constantly testing our hearing.

With more and more people now working in noisy environments, including in manufacturing, the transport sector, and the music industry (to name just three), Noise Induced Hearing Loss is now a common problem.

Biologically our hearing hasn’t adapted to the rapidly increasing levels of noise in modern life, instead it has evolved slowly over thousands of years to cope with much less noise and far shorter lifespans (by 2050 it is estimated we will routinely live to be 100 years old).

Earplugs are part of the solution as – when right for the noisy environments you’re in and fitted correctly – they effectively protect against hearing damage.

Important pages in this section:

The Problem

  • Manufacturers’ earplug specifications and performance are based on results obtained in a laboratory from just 16 test subjects. They are not tested in real-world situations. In addition, there are no UK or European earplug performance standards.
    Read more on the Hearing Protection page.
  • Most people are unaware of the level of noise they are exposed to and the impact of being exposed to it over time. These two factors are the key determinants in whether you will suffer hearing damage or not.
    Read more on the Noise Exposure page.
  • Earplugs are commonly fitted incorrectly by users resulting in them providing less protection than needed or no protection at all.
    Read about how we hear and hearing loss on The Ear page.
  • Many people don’t know that hearing loss not only leads to permanent irreversible deafness but also serious medical conditions including tinnitus, dementia, and depression.
    Read more on the Risks page.
southampton solent university 227 logo

Independently verified by

Independently verified by Professor C. Barlow PhD MIOA of Positive Acoustics and Southampton Solent University. Read his report here.

Mark Ashmore - Earplugtest

Invented & developed by

It was invented and developed by Mark Ashmore, a pioneer in the field of acoustics, noise, and hearing. Read about Mark and his many accreditations and professional memberships here.

pitch or frequency graph

Technical Infomation

Read hearing regulations, download reports (including a sample Earplugtest test report), and see related links on the Resources page.

Noise Induced Hearing Loss is permanent and irreversible and is scientifically proven to contribute to other serious health conditions. Protect your hearing and reduce your risks by taking the world’s first and only scientifically validated online earplug test now.

In less than 10 minutes you’ll know whether your earplugs are providing the protection you need.