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FAQs

Is it normal to have ringing in your ears after going to a gig?
Commonly people say they hear ringing after going to a gig, if they DON’T wear earplugs – but if you have protected your hearing adequately, there should be no ringing in your ears.
Can I damage my hearing if I’ve only been in loud clubs a few times?
Yes. You can damage your hearing if you’ve been exposed to a very loud sound even just once! It’s all about the volume and the time you’re exposed to sound. A lot of people think it’s safe to be in very loud environment if you’re there for a short time, but that’s not true. If it’s too loud, it can cause damage.
What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the absence of any external sound. This noise may be heard in one ear, in both ears or in the middle of the head. The noise may be low, medium or high‑pitched. There may be a single noise or two or more components. The noise might be continuous or come and go. For more information about tinnitus visit: tinnitus.org.uk
Can tinnitus get worse?
That depends on how you define ‘worse’. Tinnitus can change – it can become louder, softer, can change in pitch and/or type of sound. Audiology professionals consider ‘worse’ to mean that it’s more of a problem and if you manage your response to tinnitus well, it doesn’t really matter what the sound is, you will still manage well.
If I have tinnitus, does that mean I’m going to lose my hearing?
Definitely not! A lot of people with normal hearing have tinnitus. If you’re exposed to noise regularly and you experience tinnitus after you’ve been in noise, you’re probably damaging your hearing. So reduce your noise exposure and you’ll reduce the damage you’re doing.
Surely wearing earplugs will ruin the whole experience?
Not at all. Wearing earplugs won’t ruin your experience or stop you hearing the music, it will actually enhance it. Universal fit plugs, which cost around £10-15 decrease the decibel level but maintain the clarity so you can hear the music really well and protect your ears from damage at the same time. And of course it’s not just the risk of tinnitus your protecting yourself from, it’s hearing loss too. Because once your hearing is damaged it can’t be repaired, so it really is important.
How do you fit an earplug properly?
Whatever the earplug, you really need to make sure you fit them correctly to ensure they protect you properly. First thing is to make sure you read the instructions, all earplugs will have them, but if you need extra help, you can look on YouTube as there are several videos uploaded which will help. Earplugs aren’t difficult to fit, you just need to make sure you do it properly
I wear headphones a lot, do I need to be careful with those too?
Absolutely! It’s really important that you don’t listen to music that’s too loud for too long. We aren’t saying don’t listen to music through headphones, just make sure you listen at a safe level. Most phones and MP3 players have a limiter or will give you a warning if you are listening at too loud a level.
What is a decibel?
A decibel dB(A) is a unit of measurement that indicates how loud a sound is. How do I know if something is too loud?Here’s a rough guide – and relates to whether or not you can hold a conversation. A ‘rough’ guide for background noise levels, depending on ability to talk, is shown below:
• Loud Voice at 4ft – 93dB
• Shout at 4ft – 99dB
• Shout at 2ft -105dB
• Impossible even close to listener’s ear – Over 110dB
You might also want to try an App, there are several available which will give you a rough idea of sound levels – so you get a better idea of what’s safe.

FAQ Credits: Beth-Anne Culhane, Advanced Audiologist, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Emily Broomhead, BTA Projects Manager