It’s Tinnitus Week from February 5-11. This year the aim is to raise awareness of how loud music and noise can cause the condition and what you can do to prevent it. This doesn’t mean stopping the things you love – it just means protecting your ears.
For this latest campaign The British Tinnitus Association will focus especially on children, parents and schools to raise awareness of tinnitus among young people. A study in the International Journal of Audiology estimates that as many as one child in every school class in the UK could be living with tinnitus.
Tinnitus affects about six million people in the UK – one in 10 of us. It is a common condition that can develop at any age. Although more usual in those over 65 children can also suffer from the condition. It can be gradual or sudden in onset and affects people in different ways. It can also differ in intensity from mild to the kind that affects people’s quality of life. There is no cure but there is a lot of help and support available.
Noise exposure is one of the biggest causes of permanent hearing damage around the world. In the UK millions of people who love clubbing, gigs, festivals and listening to loud music through earbuds are at risk of permanent tinnitus – buzzing or ringing in the ears.
Follow these steps
The British Tinnitus Association has come up wth six ways in which you can help prevent tinnitus becoming part of your life.
- Infections: Tinnitus can be caused by ear infections. If you use earplugs or hearing aids make sure you keep them clean. Don’t put things in your, not even cottonbuds. These can cause infections.
- Stress and anxiety: Tinnitus can sometimes start when you are stressed so try to keep a healthy life balance. Do things you enjoy and de-stress everyday by taking some time out for yourself. Stay fit, eat well and enjoy life.
- Use earplugs: If you are going to be exposed to sounds over 85dB wear hearing protection. There are several apps available which can measure sound.
- Don’t stand by the speakers: If you are going to a club or festival avoid standing or sitting by the speakers as the closer you are to the source of the sound, the louder it will be.
- Keep to safe levels of listening: If you listen to music through headphones make sure you set the level to safe. That means not ramping up the volume to block out other external sounds. Your ears adjust to the levels you listen to, so if you listen to it loud, you will want to keep listening to it loud. If you turn it down, it might seem too quiet at first, but your ears will gradually adjust.
- Take a break: Your ears can cope better with loud sounds if you give them regular breaks. If you are in a noisy environment take some time out and let your ears have a rest.
To read more about tinnitus visit www.tinnitus.org.uk/about-tinnitus-week
Hearbase has a tinnitus counselling and rehabilitation service. To find out more click this link.