So, what is Hear4Tomorrow?
Hear4Tomorrow is a classroom programme designed to teach primary school children about hearing health. The programme includes a lesson outline, teaching notes, classroom activities and resources.
The programme has been developed as a teaching and learning unit for upper primary students, however it may be modified for use with older and younger grades. The associated teaching and learning activities have been aligned to the curriculum within the Health or PDHPE learning area.
The programme contains flexible content which can be taught within a single lesson, or spread out and extended as part of a broader teaching unit(s), as individual time and class commitments allow.
Why teach about hearing health?
One in six Australians has some form of hearing loss, and this number is predicted to increase to one in four by 2050. The impacts of hearing loss can be profound, but can go unnoticed by many in the general community. Unlike other prevalent health issues where physical pain or serious health risks are apparent, the effects of hearing loss are usually more insidious. By far the biggest impact is on communication, with consequent impacts on education, employment, and psycho-social health.
The biggest cause of hearing loss is excessive noise exposure. Traditionally, this has often been the result of noisy work environments (e.g. factories, power tools etc), but today’s environments also provide many opportunities for young people to be exposed to potentially damaging noise levels in their day-to-day leisure activities.
Unfortunately, noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) may be best thought of as a slow onset disease, where damage in childhood may not become apparent until much later in life. The good news is that NIHL is preventable! However, health promotion activities must start early to educate and inform children about how to look after their ears to protect their hearing for their future.
How does Hear4Tomorrow fit with what I am already teaching?
Hear4Tomorrow has been developed by a teacher FOR teachers. It has been designed to fit with, rather than add to, existing teaching and learning requirements. As such, the programme incorporates activities that reflect Health/PDHPE curriculum requirements. A summary of the relevant curriculum requirements for each Sate is below.PDF of Syllabus Documentation by State
Does it work?
The Hear4tomorrow programme has been developed based on current research evidence, and has been trialled within primary schools in city and rural areas.
The programme is effective in raising students’ awareness of hearing, and their ability to:
- Explain how the ear works, and how noise damages hearing
- Recognise potential risks to hearing health
- Minimise or avoid risks through protective behaviours
The programme is also engaging, with positive feedback about the programme design and learning activities provided both by students and teachers .
Is it really free?
Yes! The programme outline, supporting information, and related teaching resources are all available on the Hear4Tomorrow site for download. The site also provides links to additional activities and websites that can be useful for learning more about hearing and noise.
Do I need to purchase anything?
Hear4Tomorrow can be conducted without the use of any expensive extras. Some of the suggested activities do incorporate the use of equipment or materials that may not be available within your school, or you may wish to purchase (e.g. pipe cleaners, raw spaghetti, marshmallows).
Do I need a sound level meter?
The results of the evaluations indicate that, where possible, access to a sound level meter improves the understanding and engagement of students with the teaching message. Basic Sound Level Meters (available online or at electronic stores for less than $50) are more than adequate for these activities. However, alternate activities are suggested if a sound level meter is not available.
A number of “Apps” are now available to allow a smartphone/tablet to be used to measure sound levels. These are not a substitute for a dedicated, properly calibrated sound level meter and accuracy may vary depending on many factors including the limits of the phone’s internal microphone (e.g. They are likely to be less accurate for high volumes). However, they may be used as a tool in conjunction with the other information available.
Who is the National Acoustic Laboratories?
The developers of Hear4Tomorrow, the National Acoustic Laboratories (NAL), is the research division of Australian Hearing. Funded by the Australian Government, NAL conducts world leading research into hearing, hearing rehabilitation, and the prevention of hearing loss.
For more information about NAL and its work go to www.nal.gov.au