The different types of tinnitus and how to spot the signs

today07/02/2024 8

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that one billion young people are at risk of permanent hearing loss and tinnitus through unsafe listening practices. This estimate notes that one of the main causes is volume levels at recreational settings such as nightclubs, gigs and headphones.

As well as music settings, those who work in industries using loud equipment from carpenters to agriculture workers to bartenders are at risk of developing tinnitus through regular loud noise exposure. In fact, a single sudden loud noise can cause tinnitus.

Franki Oliver, Audiology Manager at the RNID, says: “Experts agree that hearing damage can start when noise is 85dB or above. That’s a problem when you consider music at clubs and concerts is often around 110dB, and some headphones play music that’s just as loud when the volume is turned right up.” To put this into perspective, 85dB is roughly equivalent to a street full of traffic or a noisy restaurant.

“If you regularly go to gigs, clubs, festivals, or anywhere with loud music, it’s a good idea to use earplugs,” Oliver urges. “Most venues will have foam earplugs for free behind the bar, but they might not give the best sound quality. Instead, it might be worth opting for a reusable pair specifically designed for loud venues, they protect your hearing from harmful sounds while letting you hear the music, preserving the atmosphere you can only get from being in a live venue!”

Loud noise is one of the most common causes of tinnitus as it surrounds our everyday lives. A common example of this is headphones being used at an unsafe level. Frequent headphone users should pay attention to how loud the volume is and take regular breaks to let their ears rest. It is tempting to rack up the volume to drown out background noise, however, this can put your hearing at risk. Noise-cancelling headphones that block outside noise and mean you can easily hear lower volumes are encouraged.

Oliver says: “Most importantly, don’t ignore any warnings you get about volume from your device, as tempting as it may be! These alerts are letting you know that you could be putting your hearing at risk, so do try and follow the advice your device gives you.

“It’s not about stopping the things you enjoy, but instead being aware of the risks of loud noise, and taking simple steps to protect your ears for as long as possible.”

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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