The number of young people going out to loud clubs, gigs and festivals has increased by 20% in 2009, RNID's Don't Lose the Music campaign has found as part of its annual poll of music lovers. The campaign - which aims to tell music lovers how and why to look after their hearing - reports that in spite of this year's financial problems, 45% of young people now go out more than once a week.
The survey, conducted at festivals around the UK this summer, also reveals an increase in signs of hearing damage, with 88% of people experiencing ringing in their ears or dull hearing after nights out, yet only 21% protecting their hearing by wearing reusable earplugs. RNID, the largest charity working on hearing loss, is calling on the government to promote messages of 'safe listening', as it does in other areas such as sun exposure and safe sex. The charity is also asking music events to routinely highlight the risk of loud music to their customers.
Speaking about the survey results, Emma Harrison from RNID's Don't Lose the Music campaign said:
"We were really surprised to find that, despite the recession, young people are going out to music events more than ever. What this means for the nation's hearing is that exposure to loud music has increased, and therefore so has the risk of more permanent hearing damage.
"We know that ringing in your ears or dull hearing can be a warning of future hearing loss, the fact that 88% of people we surveyed have experienced this really worries us.
"The festivals we have worked with have been fantastic in supporting our messages about hearing health. We would like to see more music events take this approach and for the Government to take responsibility for educating people about the affects of too much loud music. People need to make an informed choice about their listening habits, so they can enjoy music for a lot longer."
The messages Don't Lose the Music promotes to music lovers are simple:
- Use chill-out spaces to take breaks from loud music
- wear reusable earplugs at loud gigs and clubs
- make a conscious effort not to stand too close to the speakers
- don't turn MP3 players up too loud and use noise-cancelling headphones to protect your ears from outside noise.
For more information on exposure to loud music and hearing protection visit www.dontlosethemusic.com. If you are worried about your hearing you can take RNID's online hearing check www.rnid.org.uk/hearingcheck or telephone 0844 800 3838.