Alice Hardesty, a hearing consultant who also serves on Ashland's City Council, will receive the National Hearing Conservation Association's Lifetime Achievement Award for her career-long commitment to reducing noise-induced hearing loss among workers.

Since establishing the lifetime achievement award in 1999, the NHCA has given the honor to only one other person. NHCA officials will present Hardesty, a hearing-loss consultant, with the award during a hearing conservation conference in Portland scheduled for Thursday through Saturday.

She first began to make a national impact in 1973 as a scientist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Noise Abatement and Control.

Hardesty played a major role in developing the first national criteria for safe noise levels. Many of her recommendations are still applied today, NHCA officials said.

Later at the U.S. Department of Labor, Hardesty led a team that developed a noise standards document.

“The impact this document has had on preventing occupational hearing loss is incalculable,” NHCA officials said, noting that 25 years after their creation, the noise standards still provide a “safety net” for millions of American workers who are exposed to noise.

Hardesty also wrote a manual that has guided the training of virtually every new audiologist and occupational hearing conservationist in the United States, and she serves as a mentor for many professionals in hearing-loss fields, NHCA officials said.

— Ashland Daily Tidings