Phonica supports All Ears, a campaign dedicated to protecting clubbers from tinnitus.
According to the World Health Organisation, 1.1bn young people around the world are at risk of hearing loss due to unsafe listening practices. The British Tinnitus Association (BTA) states that approximately 30% of people will experience it at some point in their life, with 10% having it as a permanent condition. Tinnitus is defined as ‘the perception of sound (ringing, buzzing, whooshing or humming) which can be continuous or intermittent.’ It can be experienced in many different forms, such as musical tinnitus where it’s perceived to have a musical quality or pulsatile tinnitus where it follows the beat of your heart. Whatever the type, more serious cases can cause distress and damage your mental health.
It’s important to remember that tinnitus is not a disease, but a condition caused by a variety of things. This can include hearing loss, ear infections or stress. Especially when it comes to nightclubs, loud music can be a direct cause. Surprisingly, awareness of tinnitus isn’t at the level it should be, even in the clubbing sphere where exposure to louder-than-safe levels is a regular occurrence. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) branch of the Government says that while there is regulation protecting workers in clubs (employers must provide earplugs if noise levels are above 80dB), there is currently no legislation protecting punters, only ‘guidance’. At 80dB, unprotected ears are safe from harm for upwards of 8 hours. However, the average club system has volume levels of 100dB or higher and this corresponds to barely 10 minutes of safe exposure. Further guidance states that people shouldn’t be closer than 3 metres from club speakers. This doesn’t make good reading for the health of the everyday clubbers ears.
The majority of UK response is in treatment – when the damage is already done. We’ve seen a large cohort of the electronic music community suffering from the condition, often only learning about it after it happens. What clubbers lack is being informed of the dangers of club sound levels and what this can do. Most importantly, clubbers need to know how tinnitus can be prevented. All Ears is committed to bringing tinnitus discussion to the forefront of dance music. With support from Phonica, Bicep, Resom, London’s Night Czar and others, and by you sharing your stories, we’re well on our way to ensuring this problem is addressed.
Partnering with Alpine Hearing Protection, Watch The Hype have partnered a number of clubs around the UK (including E1, Village Underground, Corsica Studios, Wire, Hi-Fi Club and Motion) offering high-fidelity ear plugs to protect your ears without impacting the enjoyment of the music, all at an affordable cost. In just three months All Ears has attended 25 events, protected over 1,000 pairs of ears, and discussed hearing protection with over 20,000 individuals. For 2018, we aim to greatly increase our impact and protect 25,000 people.