Beth Cooper is an acoustical engineer and hearing conservationist with more than 30 years of experience in acoustics, noise control, hearing loss prevention, and occupational health. Her accomplishments include the design and management of several acoustical facilities, major industrial noise control projects, and the management of comprehensive occupational health programs. Ms. Cooper is well known in the broader technical community for her contributions of unique multimedia educational resources that support and energize occupational hearing conservation programs.
Ms. Cooper is the owner and principal of Beth Cooper Acoustics, bringing the technical, management, and problem-solving skills and expertise gained over a 30-year NASA engineering career to clients with acoustics and hearing conservation project needs. She is an active Course Director and faculty member for Council for Accreditation in Occupational Hearing Conservation (CAOHC) certification and recertification courses and a Lead Assessor for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) Acoustics Laboratory Accreditation Program.
From 2007 until 2015, Ms. Cooper served as an internal NASA hearing conservation consultant to NASA’s Office of the Chief Health and Medical Officer (OCHMO), providing specialized support for the agency’s occupational health and engineering communities to help them meet NASA’s hearing conservation program requirements. She contributed as a subject matter expert to the development of key agency policies governing both occupational and space flight noise exposure: the agency’s hearing conservation policy, Space Flight Human System Standards, and the Human Integration Design Handbook. In 2006, the Office of the Chief Health and Medical Officer promulgated agency-wide “buy-quiet” and “quiet-by-design” requirements, based on programs Ms. Cooper developed for the Glenn Research Center in the late 1990s. After the launch of this initiative, Ms. Cooper implemented a comprehensive program for the agency on behalf of OCHMO, providing technical support, educational resources and training as well as program management and evaluation in support of fifteen site-specific field center programs. A key element of her program is the NASA Buy-Quiet Process Roadmap, a free, publicly available, web-based tool that guides the low-noise procurement research and decision-making process. NASA’s Buy-Quiet program and resources have earned accolades from the regulatory and technical communities and broad adoption by public and private sector organizations. In 2011, Ms. Cooper was invited to speak about NASA’s Buy-Quiet Program as a participant in an OSHA Stakeholders’ Meeting, convened to highlight best practices in hearing loss prevention.
For almost 20 years, Ms. Cooper managed the development, promotion and public distribution of unique free multimedia educational resources, which have been requested by, and distributed to, thousands of hearing conservationists and noise control professionals worldwide. These resources include software applications, acoustical demonstrations, and interactive games, which are intended for use in training and advocacy environments to educate stakeholders about the experience of noise-induced hearing loss and about various acoustical and noise control concepts. Many of these resources have become required course materials in academic programs in audiology and engineering and have earned sanction by accreditation boards, resulting in their incorporation into the curricula of several well-regarded hearing conservation certification courses. Current distribution is via http://buyquietroadmap.com.
In 2007, Ms. Cooper established the NASA Auditory Demonstration Laboratory at Glenn Research Center, a dual-purpose facility that provided the capability of developing sophisticated acoustical demonstrations of auditory perception and processing concepts and that also functioned as an evaluation laboratory for personal hearing protectors using ANSI S12.6. Custom software developed in partnership with the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to automate the testing of hearing protectors has advanced the state-of-the-art in hearing protector test capability. The software was made available to qualified laboratories as part of a collaborative effort to extend and enhance its usefulness to the broader community and contribute to the common goal of a realistic and meaningful standard for hearing protector labeling and evaluation.
Ms. Cooper’s experience in hearing loss prevention began with the development and implementation of comprehensive best practice hearing conservation and community noise programs for the Glenn Research Center, which she managed from 1994 until 1999. She received the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal in 1998 “for outstanding achievement in noise control that provided a healthier workplace for all employees.” Beyond her specialization in hearing loss prevention, Ms. Cooper has nearly 20 years experience in the broader area of occupational health, including the management of occupational health programs and personnel. In 2010 – 2011, she chaired a Source Evaluation Committee supporting the procurement of a comprehensive suite of occupational health and medicine services for the NASA Glenn Research Center. In 2010, Ms. Cooper received the NASA Exceptional Service Award “for demonstrating entrepreneurial talent and program leadership, which has resulted in making NASA a world leader in hearing loss prevention and occupational health.”
From 1999 through 2006, Ms. Cooper managed the conceptual design, construction, accreditation, and ongoing operations of the NASA Glenn Research Center Acoustical Testing Laboratory (ATL), accredited by the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) of the US Department of Commerce for sound pressure level determinations in accordance with ISO 3744/ANSI S12.54 and ISO 11201, which constitutes the heart of the acoustic emissions verification procedure for NASA’s flight hardware. Under Ms. Cooper’s direction, the ATL offered NASA and external customers and other stakeholders a comprehensive package of services that included testing, low-noise design, and classroom education, and provided technical and programmatic support and training resources for NASA’s Flight Crew Hearing Conservation program serving the International Space Station (ISS). She received the Cleveland Area Federal Executive Service Board Wings of Excellence Award in 2002 for “advocacy and leadership in funding and executing, in record time, the design and construction of the acoustic anechoic chamber for the development of space station flight hardware” and the coveted NASA Silver Snoopy in 2003 for her service in support of the ISS acoustics program, particularly for leading the dedicated effort of the Acoustical Testing Laboratory staff and facility through the low-noise design and successful verification testing of the Fluids and Combustion Facility (FCF).
Ms. Cooper joined NASA in 1987 as an acoustics research engineer supporting the experimental acoustical research effort for low-noise aircraft exhaust nozzle concepts on the High Speed Research Program. She planned, advocated, and successfully executed the acoustical design, construction, and qualification of the Glenn Research Center Aeroacoustic Propulsion Laboratory, a unique 135-ft-diameter state of the art anechoic test facility incorporating an ejector-powered free-jet nozzle test stand for forward flight simulation.
Ms. Cooper has been a Registered Professional Engineer for almost 30 years and has been Board-Certified in Noise Control Engineering by the Institute of Noise Control Engineering (INCE) for more than 20 years. She has served two non-continuous terms on the INCE Board of Directors, as INCE Vice President for Board Certification, as a member of the INCE Product Noise Technical Committee, and as General Chair of NoiseCon 2003. She currently represents INCE on the ANSI Accredited Standards Committee S12, Noise. For her accomplishments and service to the profession of noise control engineering, Ms. Cooper was elected to Fellowship in the Institute of Noise Control Engineering in 2009.
As a champion of hearing loss prevention, Ms. Cooper has been actively involved in professional organizations as well as community and educational outreach efforts. She served as the 2014 President of the National Hearing Conservation Association (NHCA) and as NHCA Director of Communication 2006 – 2008. From 1999 – 2005, she represented the Institute of Noise Control Engineering (INCE) on the Council for Accreditation in Occupational Hearing Conservation (CAOHC), where she wrote extensively for the CAOHC Update newsletter, contributed to the development of CAOHC’s certification training programs for Course Directors and Hearing Conservation Program Professional Supervisors, and held the position of CAOHC Council Chair from 2003 – 2005.
In 2005 – 2006, Ms. Cooper was a member of the Institute of Medicine’s Committee to Review the NIOSH Hearing Loss Research Program and subsequently served on the study committee of a National Academy of Engineering project leading to the publication of Technology for a Quieter America, published in 2010 by National Academies Press. Ms. Cooper established collaborative partnerships within NIOSH as part of a national Buy-Quiet initiative that includes corporate, military and government involvement, and was part of the planning committee for the NIOSH Prevention through Design campaign. She has served as an expert reviewer of numerous journal articles, policy documents, educational resources, software packages, websites, and programs for professional societies and other external organizations such as NIOSH and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and has been a frequent invited forum speaker and panelist on low-noise product design, product noise labeling, and other technical and policy topics. Ms. Cooper has served on graduate advisory committees and provided internships for more than a dozen interns, many of whom have gone on to successful corporate and academic positions in noise control and acoustics.
Ms. Cooper has authored more than 75 papers, articles, and presentations and developed or instructed more than 100 workshops and courses in the areas of hearing loss prevention, noise control, and acoustics. She has developed several highly regarded workshops and seminars on noise control and hearing loss prevention topics that make use of multimedia presentation techniques and tools and has conducted numerous workshops that teach the development and use of multimedia techniques to enhance hearing conservation training. Ms. Cooper has been a regular presenter and session planner for INCE/USA and International INCE conferences and an invited keynote speaker and workshop presenter for national conferences that include the National Hearing Conservation Association, the Acoustical Society of America, the American Academy of Audiology, Military Audiology Association, the American Industrial Hygiene Association, the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses, and the SAE Noise and Vibration Conference. She has spoken at government and military laboratories as a visiting expert, and, in 2008, she traveled to Santiago, Chile at the invitation of the Universidad Tecnológica de Chile to deliver two keynote lectures at the Seminario Internacional de Acustica (SEMACUS) as part of a speaking tour that also included presentations to the student body and the Acoustical Society of Chile (SOCHA).
Ms. Cooper holds a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Hartford (1981) and an M.S. degree in acoustics from the Pennsylvania State University (1983). She and her husband, Paul Herrgesell, are the parents of two grown daughters. Her singular passion is small ensemble choral singing, particularly sacred Renaissance polyphony; she currently sings with two professional vocal ensembles based in Cleveland, Ohio: the Trinity Chamber Singers and Contrapunctus Early Music High Voices Ensemble.