Recently dubbed the ‘creative capital’ by The Guardian, Brighton’s reputation for music, culture, art and fun is certainly growing. The city’s thriving music scene has a reputation for cultivating some legendary talent including hip-hop duo Rizzle Kicks as well as band the Kooks, DJ Fatboy Slim, and rock favourites British Sea Power. Many people don’t know that even the Sony executive and talent show mastermind, Simon Cowell, was originally from Brighton.
Fast becoming acknowledged as the place to discover the next big thing in music and dance, Brighton is a great place to head for, especially in May when the city is in the grip of festival season. Indeed, Brighton attracts almost eight million visitors a year. But is all this high octane, high volume fun damaging our ears? Many party-goers are now turning to companies like Hidden Hearing, or specialist help and hearing aids to treat hearing loss.
The World Health Organisation has claimed that the single biggest cause of preventable hearing loss is loud noise, and now the Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Unit and Medical Research Council (MRC) have launched a study into the links between loud music and loss of hearing.
The new study will involve a mass participation survey and members of the public are being urged to help researchers understand whether the things we listen to throughout our lives have an impact on our present hearing. Carried out largely online, the study is based on the idea that damage to hearing is irreversible, and hearing loss is not something that only older people should concern themselves with. Nightclubs and music concerts regularly breach safe noise levels and many music and gig lovers may suffer the effects of this.
Current figures estimate that one in six UK adults experience some hearing loss that is significant enough to cause difficulty when trying to communicate. This represents a 12 percent rise over the last 20 years. By 2031 it is predicted that 14.5 million Brits will have some form of hearing loss. The Journal of Audiology reports that when someone is experiencing even relatively minor hearing loss, the presence of background noise like other people having a conversation or music playing, aggravates the impairment making it hard for the person to follow audio cues.
Dr Michael Akeroyd, from the MRC Institute of Hearing Research, is leading the new research project. He believes that up until now, most studies of music-related hearing loss have focussed only on the musicians. Coldplay front man Chris Martin openly talks about his tinnitus and hearing problems caused as a direct result of his profession. Dr Akeryod says that it’s now time to look at the relatively unknown matter of the effects of loud-music listening on the hearing of the general public. The way we listen to music has changed dramatically over the last one-hundred years and experts hope that this is an opportunity to understand what impact that is having.
To take part in the survey visit: www.100yearsofamplifiedmusic.org