HEARsmart is all about improving the hearing health of all Australians, especially those who are most at risk of noise-induced tinnitus and hearing loss.
HEARsmart is an Australian initiative founded by the HEARing Cooperative Research Centre (HEARing CRC) and the National Acoustic Laboratories to promote hearing health and prevent noise-induced tinnitus and hearing loss. We are bringing together organisations who share our aims: to increase public awareness around the risks of loud sound and find ways to prevent preventable hearing loss.
Launched in November 2014, HEARsmart aims to create a greater awareness of the risks associated with cumulative exposure to loud sound. With a particular focus on musicians, live music venues and patrons, we actively promote healthy hearing habits to help change the way people behave around loud sound and think about noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus.
HEARsmart is made up of a group of audiologists, psychologists, musicians, engineers, and hearing health experts with many years of practical experience in measuring sound, assessing noise exposure, and uncovering people’s attitudes and motivations towards noise and hearing health.
Research by us, and others in the field, has shown that one in six Australians (about 16% of the population) suffer some degree of hearing loss. A significant amount of this hearing loss is caused by exposure to loud sound – this can be from work and/or recreational activities. Tinnitus is even more common, it is experienced by one in five people (about 20% of the population), it can be an early indicator of hearing damage and is also associated with exposure to loud sound.
Recently we have identified that around 15% of young adults are being exposed to dangerous levels of recreational sound (that exceed the noise limit allowed by law in Australian workplaces!) Alongside this our studies indicate that tinnitus is becoming more common in younger people, and is almost four times more common in musicians that the rest of the population.