Page last updated at 09:37 GMT, Friday, 5 September 2008 10:37 UK

Hearing risk for festival goers

Festival goers at Glastonbury
Festival goers at Glastonbury were best at protecting their hearing

Festival goers could be seriously damaging their hearing, a leading charity has warned.

A poll of over 2,700 people for the Royal National Institute for the Deaf found over half felt loud music had damaged their ears.

Over 80% had experienced warning signs of damage such as dulled hearing or ringing in the ears.

The RNID said people could take simple steps like standing away from the speakers to protect their hearing.

Volume levels at festivals can reach levels over 110 decibels - that's the same as a jet plane taking off
Emma Harrison, RNID

The poll for the RNID's Don't Lose The Music campaign surveyed over 1,700 music fans at the Glastonbury, Latitude, Rise, Reading and Leeds festivals and another 1,000 online.

And while half had also experienced pain in their ears while listening to loud music, only 17% had ever taken steps to protect their hearing such as by turning the music down, stepping away from speakers and taking regular breaks.

Men were the least likely to protect their hearing with 59% of men aged 26-40 said they had listened to music that was loud enough to hurt their ears, while 66% of those aged 26-30 believed they had already damaged their hearing.

The RNID found festival goers at Leeds were most likely to have experienced signs of hearing damage, and those at Glastonbury were most likely to have taken steps to protect it such as standing away from the PA system or taking regular breaks for the latest music.

'Employees are protected'

Emma Harrison from the RNID said: "These results issue a stark warning about the UK's future hearing health.

"Volume levels at festivals can reach levels over 110 decibels - that's the same as a jet plane taking off.

"Repeated listening at this volume will cause premature hearing loss."

The RNID found music lovers at Leeds were the most likely to have experienced signs of damage to hearing, while those at Glastonbury were more likely to take steps to protect it.

Ms Harrison added: "Employees who work at music venues are protected by legislation but people who visit the same places are not.

"In areas of public health such as smoking and alcohol we are provided with information that allows us to make an informed choice.

"This is not the case with over-exposure to loud music."

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