Online retailer Allearplugs.com has launched a new campaign to raise awareness of the potential damage that can be done if you expose your hearing to persistently loud noises.
To kick start the campaign, three of the rock world's most celebrated bands are lending their support, urging fans to wear ear protection whenever they attend gigs.
Hardcore punkers Cancer Bats, Welsh post-hardcore act The Blackout and Sheffield metalcore mob While She Sleeps have all thrown their weight behind the campaign, sending out messages to their substantial online following.
You can read more about the campaign here.
I spoke to a few local musicians, promoters and offered my own experience, to see if we can persuade everyone on the local scene to invest in a pair of earplugs. For under £15 you can save your hearing. I cannot stress enough, the importance of protecting your hearing. I don't think anyone realises the damage that can be done, until it is too late.
Owen Brindley - DepartmentM
"If live music is something you want to be involved in for any stretch without suffering the ill-effects of ear damage, protecting your ears is vital. Be it as a performer, technician or audience member, life is a much easier place to be without problems such as tinnitus, hyperacusis and hearing loss. Invest in quality earplugs - the human ear simply wasn't designed to tolerate the amount of noise a fully powered band and PA can make. For musicians, the isolation they provide can also make for a much better performance."
Adam Taylor - Goodbye Chanel, Get Machine. Destroy!, New Woman
"As a musician, DJ and music producer my hearing is the most important thing to me...if I was no longer able to hear I don't know what I'd do. I regret performing without earplugs throughout my career and I often have symptoms of tinnitus and I get alarmed by it, I now try to make sure I carry my ear plugs with me at all times, as I never know when I might end up at gig."
Nick Simcock - Director - Dead Young Independent label, promotions & management
"From going to gigs and working at them for almost 15 years, I have noticed a deterioration in my hearing quality, mainly when talking in noisy environments. I have been aware of ear plugs for at least eight years, but I've been complacent. I can't afford to lose any more of my hearing, no one can, it's easily avoidable! You can pick up plugs from most music shops and hardware shops as they are a legal requirement in most industries!"
Katriona Gilmour - Editor, Leeds Music Scene
"As a regular gig goer, I didn't appreciate the importance of ear plugs until one day I forgot mine. I was attending an event and the PA system was not great quality, it was unable to handle the amount of sound going through, the volume became very uncomfortable and intolerable. I left the venue with a headache; my ears were buzzing and ringing. The shock came the next day when one of my ears bled. I sought medical advice; I was lucky I did not perforate my ear drum, but I did suffer for weeks after. I now have my earplugs in a small carry case on key chain, I am never without them!"
The Blackout, who have just announced their final tour as a band, tweeted to their over 50,000 followers 'You've only got two ears. Don't break them.'
Cancer Bats also emphasised the need for effective ear care at gigs, especially with bands who're as loud as they are. Lead singer, Liam Cormier said: "I want to be able to crank Pantera when I'm old and grey sitting on my porch, drinking a bucket full of black coffee."
Sheffield riffers While She Sleeps also voiced their support for the campaign: "Strangely enough it took me quite a while for the importance of wearing ear plugs to sink in! If you're like me who loves any sort of music loud, I urge you to start wearing them now and not until it's too late!"
A Few Facts and Figures:
- An average rock concert has been measured as being around 115dB, 35dB over what's considered the 'danger level'. This is enough to start causing damage after less than ten minutes.
- 90% of young people have experienced ringing in their ears - an early sign of damage - at least once.
- As of 2011, 10 million people in the UK suffered some form of hearing loss, with that figure expected to reach 14.5 million by 2031.
- About 10% of the population have also experienced tinnitus, a debilitating condition frequently caused by excessive noise, and common amongst rock stars.
PROTECT YOUR EARS LEEDS!