The UK is facing a hearing loss timebomb, according to research by the Royal National Institute for the Deaf (RNID) which reveals that 90 per cent of young people experience the signs of hearing damage after a night out, yet do nothing to prevent it.
The charity’s “Like it Loud?” report, shows that 70 per cent of clubbers, 68 per cent of gig-goers and 44 per cent of people who go to bars experience the symptoms of hearing damage after their night out, such as dullness of hearing or tinnitus – ringing in the ears.
More than half of respondents to the survey visited a bar where they had to shout to be heard at least once a week, and the same proportion went clubbing at least once a month. Just a quarter of young people surveyed thought the music in these venues was too loud and just a third thought hearing loss would affect their lives.
The lack of any guidance on loud music means this generation of music lovers could be facing a hearing loss timebomb, says RNID.
The charity, which represents the UK’s nine million deaf and hard of hearing people, is urging music lovers to invest in a pair of reusable earplugs – which reduce the volume but not the quality of the music – to protect their ears from damaging decibels. It also advises people to stand away from loud speakers and spend time in quieter areas to give their ears a rest.
Dr John Low, Chief Executive of RNID, said: “We’re all familiar with messages about practising safe sex and using suncream – but the lack of any guidance on loud music means this generation of music lovers could be facing a hearing loss timebomb.
“Our research shows most young people have experienced the first signs of permanent hearing damage after a night out, yet have no idea how to prevent it. With regular exposure to music at high volumes in clubs, gigs and bars, it’s only too easy to clock up noise doses that could damage their hearing forever.”
The organisation has called on the British government to establish a recommended noise exposure level for audiences attending music venues and events, and educate young people about noise as a public health risk.
“Young people who love music need to be educated so they can make choices about the risk of exposure to loud noise and protect their hearing from premature damage,” said Dr Low.