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Festival-goers and concert attendees might not be aware that noise levels around the stages at music festivals and at some concerts and nightclubs can reach 110 decibels or more; that’s similar to standing next to a pneumatic drill working at full bore.

Spending too long listening to loud noise or music can cause permanent damage to your ears including tinnitus and hearing loss. A 2008 survey of people who had attended music festivals found that 84% said they had experienced dullness of hearing, or ringing in the ears after spending time listening to the loud music. These can be the first signs of hearing damage. In most cases the respondents said that the ringing or dullness subsided after a couple of days, but if this doesn’t happen it could already be too late and the hearing could be damaged in the long term.

The group ‘Action on Hearing Loss’ have a range of suggestions for minimising hearing damage, including standing away from the speakers, taking regular breaks from the loudest areas and, most importantly, wearing earplugs. Earplugs have been widely used by the DJs, musicians and other event professionals for many years, but astonishingly the customers and attendees of these gigs don’t seem to have taken to them; citing discomfort and impracticality as reasons.

Most of the modern earplugs available today work by reducing the amount of noise reaching the ear; meaning that you can still hear the music the way that it is reproduced, but at a level which does not damage the inner ear. There are various different types on the market; from the affordable re-usable one-size-fits-all types, to the custom moulded ones favoured by musicians and DJs.

As Donna Tipping from the Action on Hearing Loss group says: “Once hearing is gone, it’s gone for good. The best solution is to protect your hearing in the first place.

We can all do our bit to protect our hearing, but what if you work in a loud environment either frequently, or for long periods of time? If this is the case then your employer should have looked at all of the options to minimise your exposure to dangerous noise levels. They have a responsibility to look after their workers’ welfare, and that includes providing hearing protection alongside implementing procedures to reduce the potential damage. If your hearing has been damaged through your employment you might be entitled to claim for compensation; contact one of our solicitors today to find out how we can help you get the pay out you deserve.

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