Top tips for festival goers from Nottingham hearing experts

23 Jun 2016 14:49:58.570


As the UK festivals season gets under way with the start of Glastonbury today, experts from the NIHR Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Centre are giving ear-saving advice to festival goers. 

The team from the world renowned hearing centre based at The University of Nottingham and Nottingham University Hospitals Trust carries out cutting edge research into hearing loss and its diagnosis and treatment. 

One of the team, health psychologist Dr Abby McCormack is academic consultant on a special BBC iWonder feature out today giving advice on how music fans can stop gigs and festivals ruining their hearing. She’s been working with top club DJ and tinnitus sufferer Anne Savage to try to spread awareness of the damage loud music can have on hearing.  

Click here for full story

Abby said: “Exposure to very loud noise can cause damage to the inner ear and can kill the hair cells leading to hearing loss. The damage may not be immediately evident but results in accelerated hearing loss over the following decades of life. Noise exposure can also cause tinnitus. This is the perception of sounds in the head or ears, usually defined as a ringing, buzzing or whistling sound. Did you know that if your ears are ringing, they’ve been permanently damaged? Tinnitus affects roughly 10% of the population!” 

Research shows that noise-induced hearing problems can be caused by a one-time exposure to loud sounds, or by repeated exposure to sounds at various loudness levels over an extended period of time. If a sound reaches 85 dB or more, it can cause permanent damage to your hearing. The duration of the sound listened to also affects how much damage it will cause. When listening to a personal music system with earphones at a maximum volume, the sound generated can reach a level of over 100 dB, and this is loud enough to cause permanent damage after just 15 minutes. 

Listening to music for long periods of time can increase the risk for hearing problems (including tinnitus). In recent years there has been an increase in hearing problems among the younger generation. Many celebrities (e.g. Chris Martin, Liam and Noel Gallagher) claim to have tinnitus as a result of loud music. As a result, there has been much discussion in the media about the potentially hazardous effects on the hearing health of young adults of attendance at clubs, gigs and festivals.

Abby said: “It is important that when people are exposed to loud music, they are aware of how they can protect their hearing. There are several precautions you can take to limit hearing damage from loud music. These ‘top tips’ can help people protect their hearing while still enjoying live music.” 

Abby’s Top Tips: 

  • Limit your exposure by listening for less time or less often.
  • Take frequent breaks from loud music. This is especially important when you’re at a festival listening to music all day.
  • Wear ear plugs. These can reduce the sound volume entering the ear but still maintain the sound clarity.
  • Try to keep your distance from the source of the sound by moving further to the back, and away from speakers
  • See a doctor, who can offer treatments and therapies, if you’re concerned, and can refer you for a hearing test.

— Ends —

Our academics can now be interviewed for broadcast via our Media Hub, which offers a Globelynx fixed camera and ISDN line facilities at University Park campus. For further information please contact a member of the Communications team on +44 (0)115 951 5798, email or see the Globelynx website for how to register for this service.

For up to the minute media alerts, follow us on Twitter

Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with a “distinct” approach to internationalisation, which rests on those full-scale campuses in China and Malaysia, as well as a large presence in its home city.’ (Times Good University Guide 2016). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers and was named University of the Year for Graduate Employment in the 2017 The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide. It is ranked in the world’s top 75 by the QS World University Rankings 2015/16, and 8th in the UK for research power according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014. It has been voted the world’s greenest campus for four years running, according to Greenmetrics Ranking of World Universities.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…

Story credits

More information is available from Dr Abby McCormack in the NIHR Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Unit, University of Nottingham on +44 (0)115 823 2611, or Adele Horobin at the BRU on +44 (0)115 823 2614

Additional resources

No additional resources for this article

Media Relations - External Relations

The University of Nottingham
YANG Fujia Building
Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5798