New website makes a big noise about hearing risks

Know your noise

The research division of Australian Hearing – the National Acoustics Laboratories, launched a fantastic new website called Know Your Noise.  The website includes useful resources such as a Noise Risk Calculator, an on-line hearing check and a Decibel Database.

It was developed in the main for young Australians to know if they have dangerous listening habits, enabling them to calculate how much noise they have consumed after they have been clubbing or to music concerts or other noisy events.  Visitors to the website can quickly fill out an online survey that calculates their noise exposure risk, based on lifestyle habits and be provided with suggestions on how they can manage these risks.

According to research from Australian Hearing, 15 per cent of young people go to pubs once a week or more while nine per cent go to nightclubs once a week or more. A further 10 per cent go to nightclubs once a fortnight. Most stay between one and five hours.

Young people who attend nightclubs regularly are also more likely to go to live bands, concerts and play their personal stereos ‘loud’ than those who go to nightclubs infrequently.  While young Australians value their hearing, a significant proportion engage in leisure activities that may lead to hearing loss in the future.

Fortunately there is better awareness today about noise damage and there are OH&S practices in place to ensure workplaces are safeguarded from loud noise. However, young people need to be aware that noise damage accumulates gradually and is often not noticed until it is too late.

People can now make these hearing checks online, thanks to this new website developed as part of a collaborative program called the Hear Smart campaign.

So what is the solution  to preventing hearing loss for our young people?

The message to young people is that it is important to always protect your ears in loud environments. This can include wearing earplugs at concerts and loud music venues, taking time out and breaks outside when at clubs, spending time in chill out rooms and limiting the total time spent per week at nightclubs and other loud venues.

Tips for protecting your hearing

  • Avoid loud sounds and noise if you can.
  • If you use a personal stereo, set the volume at a moderate level – where you can hear someone who is at arm’s length without him or her having to shout.
  • Avoid turning up the level of your personal stereo to try and drown out other background noise.
  • Use noise-cancelling headphones with personal stereos. These headphones reduce unwanted ambient noise. This makes it possible to listen to music without raising the volume excessively as the personal stereo does not need to be turned up to compete with other external noise.

Check out the new website here.

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