Health: Festival fans urged to look after their ears

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As the festival season draws to a close and the final line-ups pile in for sound-checks, national charity Deafness Research UK is advising this year’s groupies to get their own ‘sound-checks’ before pulling on their wellies and heading for the fields.

The crowds will be loud, the music will be louder, but by following the advice of Deafness Research UK, festival fans can be sure to enjoy the sound of music without risking permanent damage to their hearing.

What many festival goers don’t realise is that too much exposure to loud music at festivals can have serious consequences for years to come. National charity Deafness Research UK is now warning festival goers to become aware of the dangers of exposing their ears to loud music over long periods of time, and to take sensible precautions.

“How loud the music is and how long you are exposed to it determines how quickly your ears suffer damage,” warns Vivienne Michael of Deafness Research UK.

“It takes only 15 minutes for the ear to be exposed to danger when listening to loud music at 100dBA. How quickly damage can be caused at festivals would depend on where you’re stood in the crowd, and for how long.”

The loud music booming from the amplifiers at each festival may provide perfect sound so that large crowds can hear and experience the full effects, but they also increase the chances of hearing problems and developing tinnitus, a constant ringing or buzzing in the ears which can be caused by over-exposure to noises.

While Deafness Research UK is not suggesting festival lovers should stop going to the events, they are advising that precautions are taken to make the experience safe while not impacting on the enjoyment.

“Taking breaks from the main stage and away from the excessive noise is one simple start”, added Vivienne Michael.

“Giving your ears chance to recover after the festival by avoiding loud noises for a few days after can also help,” she concluded.

Deafness Research UK also recommends taking ear plugs as the best protection for your ears and can be worn either all the time, or for periods to have a break from the volume.

Despite common misconceptions, ear plugs do not block out the sound, in fact they can help to improve it as conversations can be heard over the music. Whilst they are not yet the world’s biggest fashion accessory, new ear plugs have many designs and colours, as well as the simple skin coloured plugs to blend in. If the musicians wear them, surely fans can follow suit.

For more information on looking after your hearing and the latest findings on the dangers of listening to loud music, see the Deafness Research UK website www.deafnessresearch.org.uk

If you are concerned about hearing loss, you can access a wide range of free information from Deafness Research UK’s Information Service, on Freephone 0808 808 2222.