|Wigan music fans urged to listen up and turn down the volume for Tinnitus Awareness Week
Young music lovers in Wigan are putting their hearing at risk every day by listening to music through headphones at too high a volume, a local hearing expert is warning.
Over the last few months, Specsavers Opticians and Hearing Centre in Wigan has seen an increase in the number of enquiries about ringing or buzzing in the ears from younger people who regularly listen to personal stereos, and is using this year's British Tinnitus Association Awareness Week (3-9 February 2014) to warn residents of all ages to turn the music down.
Hearing director Richard Smith says: 'We are a nation of music lovers so it makes no sense that we would choose to put our ability to enjoy our favourite songs at risk every day.
'Listening to your personal music player through earphones is one of the most damaging ways of listening to music because the noise is aimed directly at the eardrum. Playing songs through headphones too loudly can lead to serious long-term repercussions such as tinnitus or hearing loss.
'We have certainly noticed an increase in the number of younger people coming into store for hearing tests who complain about buzzing in their ears. This is a classic symptom of tinnitus and it's concerning to see this incurable condition affecting more young people.
Tinnitus affects up to 10% of the population, that's 6.3 million people, seriously affecting the quality of life of one in every 100 people. Its causes are not clear but it is often linked to regular exposure to loud noise.* Noise levels exceeding 105 decibels can damage hearing if endured for more than 15 minutes.
Richard adds: 'This Tinnitus Awareness Week, we want you to listen to your favourite artists at a sensible volume. Regularly exposing your ears to loud music for more than a few hours a week is likely to result in deterioration and this is irreversible once it starts.
'Remember our ears need to last us a lifetime so it is important that we look after them.'
If you are worried about your hearing or experience a ringing in the ears, you can make a free appointment at Specsavers Hearcare Centre in Wigan by calling 01942 824480.
If you are over 18, you can also access free NHS hearing services through your local Specsavers. Visit your GP and request to be referred to your local centre.
*British Tinnitus Association.
For more information on Tinnitus Awareness Week visit www.tinnitus.org.uk.