19 Dec Four tips for celebrating sound safely this festive season
On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me, 12 drummers drumming…
Good hearing is the key to enjoying all the wonderful sounds this Christmas – your favourite carols, the sound of delighted children opening their presents and contented chatter from loved ones around the dinner table. But Catherine Hart, a hearing specialist from Hearing Australia is urging Aussies not to take their hearing for granted and to protect it this holiday time.
“An Australian, large-scale study found that 37 per cent of people showed evidence of hearing damage from noise,1 so it’s important to know how to take care of your hearing,” says Catherine. “This includes making sure you protect yourself from exposure to loud sounds, which is the most significant cause of preventable hearing loss in the Australian population. ”2
“Taking good care of your hearing health can help you continue with your hobbies, enjoy socialising with family and friends over the holidays, go travelling, and watch or take part in your favourite sports throughout the summer,” adds Catherine.
So in the spirit of the festive season, here are Hearing Australia’s four tips for healthy hearing:
Tip 1: Celebrate with safe sound levels
When you’re enjoying those festive season parties or joining in the celebrations with friends and colleagues, make sure you’re not exposed to excessively loud noise. If you’re struggling to hear a conversation from a metre away then you could be risking your precious hearing. Take regular breaks outside and position yourself at a distance from the source of the loud sound
Research from Hearing Australia shows that 40 per cent of people are unaware that loud music can damage your hearing,3 so take care when you’re hitting the holiday concert scene. When you’re at an event, be aware of where the speakers are so you’re not too close and make sure you always pack some earplugs.
“It can be helpful for us to think about noise exposure in the same way we think about sun exposure”, says Catherine. “We know it’s important to protect our skin when the UV levels are high and to limit our time in the sun. For noise exposure, we need to think about protecting our ears when the volume levels are high and limit the amount of time we spend in noisy environments.” The higher the level of sound and the longer the exposure, the more likely that hearing damage will occur.4
Tip 2: Keep volumes at safe levels on portable music devices
Personal music players and smartphones make great gifts, but make sure you don’t bump the sound up to dangerous levels. Listening to your device at high volume through earbuds or headphones is a known risk factor for hearing loss.5
Plenty of people will be asking Santa for headphones this year, especially the frequent flyers amongst us. But not all headphones are created equal. Make sure you do your research and choose high-quality noise-cancelling headphones where possible.
Tip 3: Protect your ears when doing chores
The holiday season is a great time to get ahead on some household chores and DIY but if you’re using power tools, leaf blowers or lawnmowers, be sure to wear earmuffs.
Tip 4: Make a New Year’s resolution to take good care of your hearing
Ensure you get regular checks with a hearing care professional as your gift of sound to yourself. And don’t forget to help the people close to you celebrate the joy of sound in 2020 and encourage them to take good care of their hearing health too. Hearing Australia research reveals that overall, 55% of Australians aged over 40 years have a loved one or family member who has been affected by hearing issues.3
“There’s no need for people to struggle with hearing difficulties,” says Mr Kim Terrell, Managing Director of Hearing Australia. “Professional care combined with the latest hearing technology to suit your budget and lifestyle, can help you stay in touch with your family, friends and colleagues over the festive season. If you’ve noticed a change in your hearing, seek help as soon as possible so you get the support you need to rediscover all the sounds you love.”
If you have concerns about your hearing or a loved one’s hearing, drop into one of over 600 Hearing Australia locations around the country for a free* hearing check, call 131 797 or visit hearing.com.au.
You can also take our free online hearing check at www.hearing.com.au/onlineassessment
1. Wilson, D., Walsh, P., Sanchez, L., & Reed, P. (1998). Hearing impairment in an Australian population. Centre for Population Studies in Epidemeiology, South Australian Department of Human Services.
2. Australian Hearing Causes of hearing loss in Australia. The Hearing Health Industry Report 2017
3. Australian Hearing (2017), Hearing Loss Issues – survey commissioned by Australian Hearing. Conducted on the Galaxy Online Omnibus between 20 and 23 April, 2017, national sample of 1000 Australians aged 18 years and older. Data has been weighted by age, gender and region to reflect the latest ABS population estimates.
4. National Acoustic Laboratories, Know Your Noise website https://knowyournoise.nal.gov.au for more information
5. Tung CY, Chao KP (2013), Effect of recreational noise exposure on hearing impairment among teenage students, Research in Developmental Disabilities, Jan;34(1):126-132.
*Only 15 minute hearing checks are free. Other services may attract charges/fees or may be subsidised for those eligible under the Australian Government Hearing Services Program. A hearing check is a screening that helps identify people that may have hearing loss.
About Hearing Australia
For over 70 years, Hearing Australia has been helping Australians rediscover the joy of sound. Its mission is to provide world leading research and hearing services for the wellbeing of all Australians. Hearing Australia operates in over 600 locations across Australia and is the nation’s largest provider of government-funded hearing services for children, young adults up to 26, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, pensioners and veterans.