Ear plugs are ‘as important as condoms’ on a night out and should be sold in pubs and clubs, experts say
- Charity Action on Hearing Loss wants ear plug vending machines at clubs
- Ear protection should be multi-coloured to help make wearing plugs ‘cool’
- Tinnitus is defined as a ringing, buzzing, whooshing or humming in the ears
Ear plugs are as essential on a night out as condoms, a charity has said.
Action on Hearing Loss (AoHL) is urging people to protect themselves from tinnitus in the same way they use contraception to ward off sexually transmitted infections.
The charity wants to see vending machines in pub and club toilets selling colourful ear plugs to help make them ‘cool’.
Ear plugs are as essential on a night out as condoms, a charity has said (stock)
Gemma Twitchen, an audiologist at AoHL, told The Sun: ‘Thanks to campaigns, posters and ads over the past few decades, safe-sex awareness is a given.
‘But why are we not taking ear plugs for protection on a night out?
‘You see loads wearing big headphones and more discreet designs, so why not wear tiny plugs at a gig or a rave?’
Ms Twitchen – who previously advised people wear ear plugs to their Christmas parties – insists the protection blocks out dangerously loud noise while still allowing clubbers to enjoy the music.
Tinnitus sufferer and DJ Tre Lowe also wants high-quality earplugs to be sold at music venues.
Staff working at clubs or gigs must be offered ear protection by law, with Mr Lowe wanting the same rights for customers.
WHAT IS TINNITUS?
Tinnitus is the name for hearing noises, such as ringing, buzzing or hissing, that are not caused by an outside source, according to the NHS.
It occurs due to damage to the cochlear hair cells in the inner ear, which stretch and contract in accordance with sound-induced vibrations.
Very loud noises – at a nightclub or played over headphones – can overload these cells, leaving them temporarily or permanently damages.
The damage forces other parts of the ear to overwork to compensate for the loss of function, which leads to tinnitus and eventually chronic hearing loss.
Some 15 per cent of adults in the UK suffer from tinnitus, according to figures.
There is no cure.
Treatment focuses on counselling and therapies to help people find ways of coping with their condition and reducing any anxiety it causes.
Tinnitus retraining therapy uses sound therapy to retrain the brain to tune out and be less aware of ringing and buzzing noises.
Deep breathing, yoga and joining support groups can also help.
Tinnitus is often described as ringing in the ears, however, many sufferers report hearing buzzing, clicking, whooshing or humming.
The condition can be due to age-related hearing loss but has also been linked to exposure to loud noise.
Symptoms of the incurable condition – which affects around 6million people in the UK and 20million in the US – can last anywhere from a few hours to permanent damage.
Listening to any loud noises regularly can cause both tinnitus and hearing loss by damaging the delicate hair cells in the inner ear, which cannot regrow.
Loud noises are defined as being around the 85 decibels mark – similar to city traffic.
Good Morning Britain co-anchor Susanna Reid took to Twitter in October last year complaining of a constant ringing in her ears that was ‘so loud’.
The broadcaster was diagnosed with tinnitus more than a decade ago after the birth of her second son Finn, now 13.
She has blamed ‘a difficult labour’ for the onset of her condition.
Coldplay front man Chris Martin, Star Trek actor William Shatner and actress Barbara Streisand have also all been diagnosed with tinnitus.
The British Tinnitus Association states: ‘It is not a disease or illness; it is a symptom generated within the auditory system and usually caused by an underlying condition.
‘The noise may be in one or both ears, or it may feel like it is in the head. It is difficult to pinpoint its exact location.
‘It may be low, medium or high pitched and can be heard as a single noise or as multiple components.’