Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Man wearing ear muffs/ear plugs to help in preventing hearing loss.

Man wearing ear muffs/ear plugs to help in preventing hearing loss.
beginning of content

Hearing loss prevention

2-minute read

Most types of hearing loss are permanent, so it’s important to prevent hearing loss before it occurs. If you do have damage to your hearing, you can try to stop it getting worse.

How to prevent hearing loss

Loud noise is the most common cause of hearing loss that is preventable. The best way to protect your hearing is to limit your exposure to loud noises. That means both really loud noises as a one-off, and loud noises over your lifetime.

To prevent damage to your hearing:

  • keep your music, TV and radio down - you should be able to easily talk to someone 2 metres away
  • at a loud event, take frequent breaks and give your hearing 18 hours to recover afterwards
  • if you use headphones or earphones, limit them to an hour at a time then take a break
  • if you can, use headphones or earphones that block outside noise
  • don't listen to music at more than 60% of the maximum volume
  • wear earplugs or ear protection equipment, such as ear muffs, in noisy workplaces
  • take breaks at clubs or live music events

Workplaces have rules about noise levels, but you need to keep a watch on them too. If you are concerned about your hearing, your doctor can put you in touch with an audiologist, who will test your hearing and suggest ways to limit any further damage.

How loud is too loud?

You’re probably exposing yourself to dangerous noise levels if:

  • you need to shout to be heard by a person 1 metre from you
  • you’re listening to music through headphones and can’t hear traffic sounds or people talking near you

If you hear ringing in your ears after an event or a day at work, it was too loud. If you have a lot of days like that, you will almost certainly damage your hearing.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: February 2018

Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Ear health | Australian Government Department of Health

If left untreated, hearing loss and ear disease can affect a child's learning and development. Adults with with untreated hearing loss may also be at risk of developing other health problems. Find out what were doing to raise awareness of ear health and help prevent hearing loss in Australia.

Read more on Department of Health website

Seeing an audiologist: for parents & kids | Raising Children Network

If your child has hearing, speech, communication, behaviour, learning or other ear issues, an audiologist can identify the problem and help treat it.

Read more on website

Ears - Hearing loss in children with Down syndrome | Sydney Children's Hospitals Network

Hearing loss is common in children with Trisomy 21 (also known as Down syndrome)

Read more on Sydney Children's Hospitals Network website

Parenting and Child Health - Health Topics - Children with hearing loss - hearing impairment

Colds, infections, allergies and flu can temporarily reduce hearing

Read more on Women's and Children's Health Network website

Parenting and Child Health - Health Topics - Hearing and hearing loss - babies and children

ALERT: Consult your doctor if there has been a sudden change in your childs hearing

Read more on Women's and Children's Health Network website

Ears - Unilateral (single sided) hearing loss: The school child | Sydney Children's Hospitals Network

Children who have been diagnosed by an audiologist as having unilateral hearing loss (deafness in one ear) should be followed up by an Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) Specialist,or Paediatrician, to check if anything can be done to correct the hearing impairment

Read more on Sydney Children's Hospitals Network website

Ears - Hearing loss in One Ear: Babies & PreSchool Children | Sydney Children's Hospitals Network

Many babies who are born with hearing loss in one ear are now identified in the first few months of life by the newborn hearing screening program (SWISH)

Read more on Sydney Children's Hospitals Network website

Tool kit Helping someone at risk of suicide

It is distressing to realise that someone close to you may be considering suicide. This tool kit will help you identify signs to look for, decide what to do and where you can go for help.

Read more on Lifeline website

Hearing Health

The NSW Aboriginal Ear Health Program Guidelines 2011-2015 (the Guidelines) were released in November 2011 to highlight the importance of maintaining good ear health and to address the higher prevalence of ear disease among Aboriginal children.

Read more on NSW Health website

Ears - Meniere's disease - Better Health Channel

Meniere's disease affects the ear, which is the centre of hearing and balance.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo