Students urged to plug in

Reporter: Martha Southall
Date published: 13 September 2018

National charity Action on Hearing Loss are warning students of the hidden danger of Freshers’ week.

At 19, James Eckstein was a typical student.

As part of his social life and job in a nightclub, he was out partying three or four nights a week.

Around a year after he put his clubbing days behind him, James woke up with a ringing in his left ear.

It didn’t go away – and now never will.

His condition is known as tinnitus and affects around one in 10 adults in the UK.

“I’m a musician and audio engineer. During college a teacher once explained to me about tinnitus and how important it was to protect your ears, but I didn’t think going to a nightclub a lot would affect this,” James explained.

After diagnosis, however, he learnt more of the risk he had been at.

He added: “I did my own research and found out that your ears start to get damaged a little more each time you are exposed to loud noise.

"Unfortunately for me it was too late; I am 25 and I now have to live with this for the rest of my life.”

At this time of year, students across the country will be throwing themselves into local nightlife, but Action on Hearing Loss are warning that this period of non-stop partying could leave young people with a lifelong health condition.

In fact, exposure to sounds of 110-120dB like those in nightclubs can cause damage in just 15 minutes.

The charity is suggesting earplugs as a simple solution.

Senior Audiologist Gemma Twitchen believes that this is a win-win.

She said: “We don’t want people to stop going to music events - that’s not what this is about.

"There is a misconception that if you wear ear plugs you can’t hear or enjoy the music, but this is simply not true!

"Ear plugs will block out the dangerous sound frequencies, still allowing you to listen to the music and enjoy it."

Although there is no cure for tinnitus, the charity has urged that sufferers can still live their lives to the fullest, but that a series of simple steps (standing further away from speakers, taking regular breaks) can help reduce people’s risk this Freshers’ week.

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