A traffic light indicator to help you stay on top of noise

Did you know that one third of all hearing loss is caused by exposure to noise?

Children with a hearing loss, even a small loss, often have problems at school and in social situations. 

The Safe Sound Indicator helps to protect school pupils from noise-induced hearing loss, as well as educating children, teachers and parents about dangerous noise levels.

What is it?

The Safe Sound Indicator, conceived by Jamie Fenton, Young New Zealander of the Year 2011, is a tool that helps children to self-regulate their noise levels. Children and adults can tell at a glance when the noise level is reaching ‘red light’ danger levels. 

How does it work?

Using a traffic light system to show dangerous noise levels, it registers the approximate sound levels around it. Green = 80 dB, Amber 85 dB, Red = 90 dB. 

What are its dimensions?

The dimensions are: 218mm (Wide) x 138mm (Deep) x 40mm (High)

Where should you install it?

Sound reduces with distance, so it is those closest to the noise that are at most risk. By putting it in the area that can be the noisiest, you can help protect everyone’s ears.

Noise hurts

In 2009 the Foundation surveyed 65 early childhood centres and found that 20 percent of children, and over 30 percent of teachers, experienced distress after continuous exposure to loud noise. Some children had even reacted by holding their hands over their ears or crying.


Keeping noise levels down also helps children who have a hearing loss, as noisy environments make listening to their teacher or their classmates challenging. 


Redoubt North School Principal, Jane Milner relates, “Having worked in a school with a Deaf Satellite attached, and working with children with hearing loss, I know the value of noise control.” 


Redoubt North School will be using a Safe Sound Indicator in their open plan learning spaces to ensure students are more aware of harmful noise levels.

Safe Sound Indicators Nationwide

Over the years, the National Foundation for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing has supplied over 1500 Safe Sound Indicators to schools throughout New Zealand. With Safe Sound Indicators installed, children are increasingly aware of their precious hearing and dangerous noise levels in their classroom and in their wider community.

Facts about noise induced hearing loss

  • Continued exposure to sound levels of 90dB (decibels) or higher may cause permanent hearing loss. 

  • Hearing loss, caused by over exposure to harmful noise, can develop slowly. Often, we do not know it has happened until it is too late.

  • Many young New Zealanders have already experienced symptoms of hearing damage after listening to loud music. These might include dullness of hearing and ringing in the ears (tinnitus).

Address: Level 1, 149-155 Parnell Road,

Parnell, Auckland, 1152

PO Box 37729 Parnell, Auckland 1151, New Zealand

Phone: 09 307 2922 or 0800 867 446 

Email: enquiries@nfd.org.nz

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© 2020 The National Foundation for the Deaf Inc.