Young people urged to protect hearing
Singer Sonna Rele, who suffers from hearing loss, warned in an interview for ITV News that hearing problems don't only affect the elderly and that many young people are at risk when listening to music too loudly through headphones, in nightclubs or at music gigs.
Hearing loss is a particular risk for young people who, like Rele, work in the music industry. A study at the University of Manchester found that people working in the music sector are almost twice as likely to develop tinnitus compared to those employed in quieter workplaces.
In noisy work environments, under health and safety regulations, workers must wear ear defenders or earmuffs to eliminate the risk of hearing damage. Away from the working environment, there are no compulsory ear safety measures. Young people can get used to listening to music at extremely high volumes, unaware that they risk damaging their hearing.
Sounds above 85 decibels are considered unsafe without ear protection. The sound levels at rock concerts, for example, often exceed 120 decibels. Custom-moulded ear headphones allow people to listen to music at reduced sound levels without perceiving a lack of volume. Ear protection is recommended at noisy music gigs, bars and nightclubs.
Any person, young or old, who is concerned about their hearing should consult their GP. There are online hearing tests that can spot hearing problems, which should then be followed up by a consultation with a health professional.
Some pharmacies and opticians offer hearing tests.