First results from national hearing survey

Media releases
  • 7,500 participants so far
  • 40 percent report they have a hearing loss
  • One third of the under 40s are binge listening
  • 70 percent experiencing ringing in their ears

Survey closes 12 SeptemberScientists from the National Acoustic Laboratories are preparing to analyse the results of Sound Check Australia, the national noise and hearing survey.  7,500 people have already completed the survey which closes 12 September.

The researchers have already taken a sneak peek at the data so far. It’s not scientifically validated yet but it’s a pointer to what’s to come.

Australia’s citizen scientists have contributed a total of nearly 4,000 hours effort to the survey.

The good news is that 64 percent of all respondents reported that their hearing was somewhere between good and perfect.  This is a self-reported estimation and the scientists will compare this later on with the results of the hearing check (the online hearing test).

40 percent of respondents felt they had a hearing loss. Around 1 in 5 people didn’t know if they had a hearing loss or not.

The majority of people (almost 50%) had a low personal noise exposure rating. However a significant proportion had a high to very high risk rating – and this was closely correlated with age.  A third of people under 40 were at high risk, compared to only  7% of those over 40. This means that the amount of noise they were exposed to from their leisure activities alone exceeded the level of exposure deemed acceptable in the workplace.  Any additional noise exposure further increased their risk for hearing damage. Regular personal music listeners have their headphones on for an average of 135 minutes a day.

Perhaps even more concerning is that this risk rating is likely to underestimate their risk – as it doesn’t include noise exposure at work, from other leisure activities, or from these activities at earlier times in life.

This massive online science survey, at, will help build a picture of Australia’s hearing health, and hopes to raise awareness about healthy hearing habits.

“Our access to noise and music is just unprecedented in its availability,” says Elizabeth Beach, a researcher from the National Acoustic Laboratories. “We hope that with Sound Check people will start a conversation about the risks and what activities they should be thinking about reducing or avoiding.”

The survey is at It’s open until 12 September.

Contact: Frankie Lee on or 0419 448 847 to line up interview with hearing scientists around the country.