Noise Changes Lives: The Story of Our Campaign to Reduce Noise Induced Hearing Loss

Noise is pretty easy to quantify but very hard to illustrate. For the last 40 years Cirrus has built its business and reputation on accurately monitoring and recording sound but had precious little to work with when it came to visually illustrating noise. That was always the challenge for our marketing department.

This year however, we are delighted to say that Cirrus Research has been shortlisted for Marketing Campaign of the Year in the Safety & Health Excellence Awards with a hard-hitting, image-led campaign.

Noise Changes Lives Campaign - SHE Excellence Award Nomination

Ethos of the Noise Changes Lives Campaign

Entitled “Noise Changes Lives”, the work was borne out the company’s long history and rich understanding of the Noise at Work sector where NIHL (Noise Induced Hearing Loss) is a growing and recognised threat to workers’ health in key sectors.

Over the years the issue has been put back in the spotlight as personal injury lawyers recognised a rich seam of possible claimants who had historically suffered NIHL in industries that were slow to catch on to health and safety risks associated with noise. Noise was officially classified as a statutory nuisance in 1960 but it was some years after that the threat to personal health was recognised and addressed in statutes.

So, NIHL is certainly not a new issue and over recent years a certain antipathy was becoming evident which we felt the need to address, keeping the issue front of mind for Health & Safety Managers.

Developing the Campaign Message

Having researched the occupational health sector media, it quickly became evident a traditional product-based campaign would not achieve the right amount of cut through and could easily have been “lost” in the cacophony of new products launches, updates and upgrades that are released continually in the UK.

Cirrus’ marketing team decided it needed to take a much more personal approach to the issue and started to look at what hearing loss actually means to an individual? This sidewards look was also strengthened by recent national stories featuring celebrities who had suffered NIHL due to their jobs as singers and actors – for example DJ Jo Whiley who now suffers from tinnitus after decades of reviewing live bands, or AC/DC lead singer Brian Johnson who had to retire from live performing due to NIHL.

We wanted to get rid of the blasé attitude to NIHL and for that we need to build of campaign around a hard-hitting image and message that no one would expect to see in a very traditional H&S media sector.

The “Noise Changes Lives” strapline was chosen to resonate at an individual level when coupled with examples of what an individual could be missing out on if they were a victim of NIHL. We deliberately chose examples that every person we knew personally or professionally would be able to access and relate to:

“Imagine never been able to hear….

your child’s voice….

the start of Christmas….

Waves on a beach…..

the sound of bacon frying on a Sunday morning….

Campaign Launch and Increasing Awareness

front cover of HSM April 2017 featuring noise changes lives campaign

The Noise Changes Lives Campaign as featured in the April 2017 edition of Health & Safety Matters Magazine

Noise Changes Live campaign polling box at Health & Safety North 2017

The Noise Changes Live Campaign polling box at Health & Safety North 2017 – “Do you agree that excessive noise exposure or hearing loss can change lives?”

The campaign was launched as the front cover of the April 2017 issue of Health & Safety Matters and was supported with cross-channel digital, social and email marketing. The campaign immediately had a sizeable impact with existing and potentially new clients.

We then supported this with industry-based statistics and facts to strengthen our argument to give the message longevity. When we took the awareness campaign to Health & Safety North in October 2017, a staggering 91% per cent of delegates asked (over 280) said they thought the message had resonance and had helped make them acutely more aware of noise as a health and safety issue.

We also knew it could be controversial using the gun imagery at such a sensitive time of national security but to us it was the only one that would really make people sit up and take notice – and it worked.


Come April, whether we walk away winners or simply finalists, we know our message reached new audiences thanks to #NoiseChangesLives and that was the whole point after all?

Expand your Noise Knowledge!

Signup to the NoiseNews blog for the latest article updates straight to your inbox.