About one in six (or 16%) of Australians suffer some degree of hearing loss, much of this is caused by exposure to loud sound from work and/or recreational activities. Tinnitus is also common, with around one in 10 (or 10%) of Australians experiencing troublesome symptoms.
Our research shows that around 15% of young adults (aged 18-35 years) are exposed to levels of recreational sound that exceed the noise limit allowed in workplaces. We have also found that tinnitus is becoming more common in this age group, and is almost four times more common in musicians that the rest of the population.
What causes noise injury?
Noise injury can be caused by a one-time exposure to an extremely intense sound, such as an explosion, or by exposure to loud sound over an extended period of time. Damage accumulates over time and as such is more common in older people, but hearing loss can develop at any age depending on how LOUD, how LONG and how OFTEN individuals are exposed (check out our infographic below).
Got a spare 10 minutes? Listen to the radio interview featuring Siobhan McGinnity (our PhD student!) talking about hearing loss and music.