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May 6, 2003

Songs For The Deaf

From: Metal Hammer, UK - May 6, 2003

06 May 2003 We received the following press release this morning, so be careful when listening to loud music kids:

"Rnid Research Reveals Huge Risk Of Hearing Loss Among Young People Major research published today by RNID shows that three out of four young people (73%) who go to clubs or concerts regularly are risking permanent hearing damage.

RNID - the UK's largest charity representing nine million deaf and hard of hearing people - found that of the two thirds (66%) of young people who regularly go clubbing, three quarters of them regularly experience ringing in their ears and / or dullness of hearing after a night out - a warning sign of hearing damage.

The research also shows that whilst almost half of young people (46%) know that the ringing in their ears after a night out is a sign of damage, many (59%) aren't aware this damage is irreversible. "Social noise exposure has tripled since the early 1980s in the UK meaning that it is now even more important for people to take steps to look after their hearing. Prevention is always better than cure, especially in this case as there is no remedy for hearing damage. "We need to get to a stage where remembering to take your ear plugs out with you on a big night out is as common-place as remembering safe sex protection.

"If we don't, we are roller coasting towards an epidemic of premature hearing loss in middle age," comments Brian Dow, Joint Head of Campaigns, RNID.

The research has prompted RNID to launch a major campaign - Don't Lose the Music - targeted at clubbers, students and festival goers. It aims to encourage young people to adopt a 'safe listening' approach by getting them to:

* take regular breaks from the dance floor in nightclubs and use club chill out areas to give ears a rest from loud music

* stand away from loud speakers when in clubs or at gigs and concerts

* wear ear plugs if regularly exposed to loud music, ie as a frequent clubber, DJ or musician. RNID is also calling on the music industry to:

* ensure speakers in night clubs are placed safely and take into account the potential hearing damage that could be caused by badly designed clubs when designing new venues

* offer more 'chill out' space for clubbers so that they are able to take breaks from loud music

* encourage professional DJs - many of whom already wear protective ear plugs - to act as role models and encourage young people to protect their hearing.

Kim Morgan, Deputy Chief Executive of The Persula Foundation which funded RNID's research says: "The Persula Foundation has worked closely with RNID to encourage people to look after their hearing and fully supports the Don't Lose The Music campaign. Hearing is like any other sense: your brain compensates for loss, until one day you realise that you can't hear properly.

"The big difficulty is that we were all brought up in a youth culture where 'If the music is too loud, you're too old', but too many people reach middle age and wish they'd listened to their parents. It is very difficult to tell someone to turn the volume down without seeming like a killjoy, but with more and more professional musicians and DJs treating their sense of hearing as the irreplaceable asset it is, it's becoming more viable to get the message across to everyone. It all boils down to a question of whether it is better to deafen yourself with sound when you are young, or to treat your ears with a little care and respect and enjoy a lifetime of aural pleasure!"

Copyright Future Publishing 2003. All rights reserved.