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Excessive noise is unwanted sound that may damage a person's hearing. Damage to hearing generally occurs gradually over a number of years and may remain unnoticed until it is too late.

Exposure to excessive noise is cumulative. If you have already been exposed to excessive noise at work and then expose yourself to more noise during gardening, hobby or leisure activities (including listening to MP3 players at high volume), your chances of sustaining noise induced hearing loss are substantially increased.

Noise induced hearing loss is slow and painless and is permanent. There is no cure but it can be prevented.

The loudness of sound is measured in units called decibels. Noise induced hearing loss can be caused by a one-time exposure to very loud sound or by repeated exposure to sounds at various volume levels over an extended period of time. An example of decibel levels include: normal conversation is approximately 60 decibels, the humming of a refrigerator is 40 decibels, heavy city traffic noise can be 85 decibels, a lawn mower is on average 90 decibels and a leaf blower approximately 110 decibels.

Schools need to identify activities that generate excessive noise levels and implement and maintain measures to prevent noise induced hearing loss. Management of noise should include:


Noise Induced Hearing Loss Adobe PDF document299K
Reviewing Noisy Environments in Schools Adobe PDF document380K
Hearing Conservation Program Adobe PDF document224K
Managing Noise in Manual Arts/Industrial Technology and Design Adobe PDF document326K
Hearing Protection for Instrumental Music Teachers Adobe PDF document304K
Hearing Protection for Schools Officers Adobe PDF document274K
Portable Music Players Adobe PDF document313K
Tinnitus Adobe PDF document254K

Legislation and other links

Managing Noise and Preventing Hearing Loss at Work Code of Practice 2011
Workplace Health and Safety Regulation 2011 Adobe PDF document (Chapter 4 Hazardous Work Part 4.1 - Noise)
Design Standards for DET Facilities

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This page was last reviewed on 17 Aug 2016

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