Health: Don’t dice with hearing danger

Coldplay's Chris Martin is a high profile tinnitus sufferer. Picture by Tim Ireland/ PA Wire.
Coldplay's Chris Martin is a high profile tinnitus sufferer. Picture by Tim Ireland/ PA Wire.
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Some of the world’s biggest music stars suffer from a constant ringing in their ears and painful headaches.

Coldplay’s Chris Martin, rapper Plan B and synthpop legend Gary Numan are among the high profile victims of tinnitus. It’s a tormenting ailment that results in excruciating migraines, which act as a warning that you’re overdoing it with loud music.

Booming bass and mountainous speakers come with the territory when you’re a rockstar but it’s easy to forget the damage you’re doing when you’re at a gig or listening to your headphones with the volume at full blast.

I’ve got to hold my hand up and admit I’ve hardly been careful about protecting my ears, I go to gigs, love music festivals and haven’t ever really explored wearing ear plugs.

That uneasy rib cage vibrating sensation you endure in a nightclub or live music event is clearly not going to be great for your ears – that’s evident by the ringing you get after you’ve left.

But my eyes have been opened. Given that it’s Tinnitus Awareness Week this week, I’ve been testing out tinnitus simulation videos online.

Unsurprisingly they are pretty mind-numbing and ultimately painful. Enduring that for just half an hour is really testing – you can’t concentrate, can barely hear things around you and struggle to focus, let alone sleep.

Ear plugs are cheap, avoiding immensely loud music is cheaper and protecting your hearing is pretty priceless.

The Action on Hearing charity’s research found that nearly one in five people would not do anything differently to take any care of their hearing even when informed of the dangers. And despite almost 70 per cent of people having been left with ringing in their ears or dulled hearing after a night out, only one in three would override the ‘safe level’ warning on a music player.

It’s a no-brainer really. You, like myself, might love gigging but it’s not worth losing your hearing over.