What is International Noise Awareness Day? 

April 24, 2024, is the 29th International Noise Awareness Day. The Center for Hearing and Communication established INAD in 1996 ‘to raise awareness and educate the public about the harmful effects of noise on hearing, health and quality of life’.1

Importantly, INAD isn’t only about noise awareness; it’s also about protecting our wellbeing. Hearing loss is linked with a range of health conditions, including depression, loneliness, increased fall risk and even an increased risk of Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias. 

Noise and Hearing: What’s the Connection?

Loud noises can cause hearing loss quickly, for example, by exposure to a single extremely loud sound such as an explosion or firework. Loud noises can also cause hearing loss over time, for example, by continued exposure to loud sounds or devices such as power tools.2

A sound's intensity, measured in decibels (dBs), is the critical factor. Intensity and perceived volume aren't the same due to how our ear receive and process sound. The environment also plays a role and sound will behave differently in different situations, such as indoors vs outdoors. However, the sounds potential to cause hearing damage is present regardless of the environment.

Noise exposure over time is more likely to cause gradual and potentially permanent hearing loss as it damages the inner ear’s cilia. These hair-like structures move in response to sound and send nerve impulses to your brain’s auditory centres.4 A sudden, intense noise can rupture your eardrum or damage the inner ear's cilia. Such injuries can result in immediate and permanent hearing loss.3

How to Protect Your Ears

A good rule of thumb is that ‘if it sounds too loud, it is too loud’.5 If you’re in a situation where you have to raise your voice to be heard then your hearing may be at risk. In these situations it’s best to move away or, when that is not possible, protect your ears with earplugs, earmuffs or noise-cancelling headphones. 

Generally, sounds over 85dB (such as a petrol-powered lawnmower or leaf blower) can cause damage over time. Greater sound intensities can cause damage with less exposure, and you may be at risk even at lower sound intensities, depending on genetics or other factors. 


Support International Noise Awareness Day

There are a few things you can do to support INAD, such as: 

  • Checking your hearing: book an appointment with your nearest Connect Hearing clinic, even if you’re not experiencing hearing loss. It’s good to get a baseline measurement and understand your hearing health.
  • Reducing the volume: if you enjoy listening to music, radio or podcasts, or are a home theatre enthusiast, you can protect your hearing by ensuring you’re not ‘rattling the walls’ as you enjoy your sound system.
  • Keeping the noise down: avoid making too much noise! No shouting or honking your horn when you can avoid it.6

Noise-related hearing loss is a largely preventable condition (accidents aside). If you avoid loud noises and wear hearing protection when you expect noise (for example, going to a concert or working with power tools), you’ll preserve your hearing and maintain your health. That’s what INAD is all about, so be a part of it and keep your hearing healthy.



  1. Center for Hearing and Communication (n.d.), Protect Your Hearing, Protect Your Health, Center for Hearing and Communication, accessed 15 April 2024.
  2. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (n.d.), What Noises Cause Hearing Loss?, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, accessed 15 April 2024.
  3. Know Your Noise (n.d.), Hearing Health, National Acoustic Laboratories [Australia], accessed 15 April 2024.
  4. Biomedical Beat Blog (3 July 2019), Cilia: Tiny Cell Structures With Mighty Functions, National Institute of General Medical Sciences [US], accessed 15 April 2024.
  5. It’s a Noisy Planet (10 June 2020), How Loud Is Too Loud?, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders [US], accessed 15 April 2024.
  6. National Today (n.d.), International Noise Awareness Day – April 25, 2024, National Today, accessed 15 April 2024.